Friday, November 24th, 2017

What are some of the dangers of vaping?

Posted: Friday, November 20, 2015

Article submitted by LACE

Lace is often asked about drug trends. Recently, most questions raised have been about vaping. Vaping is inhaling and exhaling vapor (or more precisely aerosol) from an electronic cigarette. E-cigarettes (also called vape pens or hookah pens) are battery-powered nicotine delivery devices.

The most common liquid solution is nicotine mixed with propylene glycol (to help create a vapor), vegetable glycerin (to preserve the ingredients), other solvents and many different flavorings, like mint, candy or fruit. There is no government regulation of the chemicals that go in e-cigarette cartridges, so there is no way to know what users are breathing into their lungs. Also these devices have been on the market for such a short time that it is impossible to know their long-term side effects.

People using e-cigarettes will get addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is as addictive as heroin and stimulates the addiction center in the brain. When nicotine vapor is inhaled, it enters the brain in 8-10 seconds and gives the user an immediate buzz, elevated blood pressure and an increased heart rate.

Vaping Marijuana

People are using e-cigarettes to smoke potent liquid and waxy marijuana extracts that put off very little odor. The marijuana oil cartridges used in the vaporizers can contain THC levels as high as 90%, compared to the 15% typically found in rolled joints. It is very difficult to tell how much THC one is consuming when using a vaporizer or e-cigarette. Also marijuana concentrates have some non-traditional symptoms. Some users report hallucinations, passing out, extreme highs (even from small portions) and high levels of impairment. These extracts can be known as “dabs,” “butter,” “amber,” “honey,” “oil,” or “BHO.”

Vaping Alcohol

People are turning powdered or liquid alcohol into vapor, which is then inhaled. While it may seem like a cool new way to have fun at parties, it is extremely dangerous and can be lethal. When a person weighing 150 pounds drinks liquid alcohol, it takes between 5 and 6 shots an hour to overdose, and it is broken down in the digestive system, passing through the stomach, small intestine and liver. With vaporized alcohol, users can inhale the equivalent of 10 shots in a few seconds, and it travels straight from the lungs to the bloodstream and then directly to the brain. Therefore, inhaling alcohol takes away the body’s defenses to protect a person from alcohol poisoning through vomiting. Once it is in the lungs, there is no way to take it out.

Vaping and the Lungs

Lungs are not meant to contain liquid. When someone breathes in a vaporized liquid, it condenses in the walls of the lungs. Condensed liquid is heavier than vapor, so it will fall down to the bottom of the lungs and sit there. This can lead to serious lung infections like pneumonia.

As this trend’s popularity begins to skyrocket with individuals of all ages, we need to continue to educate ourselves on the trends and dangers of vaping. For more information, please visit LACE on Facebook at Local Anti-Drug Coalition Efforts - LACE.