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Home > Medical Services > Substance Use Treatment > Assessments, Counseling & Support > Health Risks of Vaping
Vaping is the use of e-cigarettes, which are mechanisms that heat nicotine and other flavors and chemicals to create a vapor that the user inhales. It’s important to note that the primary agent in both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes is nicotine, which causes them both to be addictive. In fact, e-cigarettes can be even more addictive when used with extra-strength cartridges, which increase the amount of chemicals inhaled.
There are a variety of myths around vaping, including that it is less harmful than smoking. However, while smoking and vaping are both harmful to the human body, smoking has been around longer, so we have more information on its specific health risks. Similarly, because vaping is a newer trend, there is less information on its long-term health effects. But, there are some daunting new developments in our understanding of the risks associated with the use of e-cigarettes.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are currently investigating what they refer to as a multi-state outbreak of “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury,” also known as EVALI. The investigation is gathering information on more than 2,000 patients who have symptoms related to EVALI, of which more than 40 have died. The CDC recommends that anyone who has used e-cigarettes carefully monitors themselves for symptoms of lung injury, which can develop within several weeks or as quickly as in a few days. These include:
The best way to protect yourself from developing a lung injury from using e-cigarettes is to avoid them altogether. If you or a loved one is considering quitting and would like to speak with someone who can help, contact your MercyCare primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, contact Mercy’s Find a Doc for help in finding a healthcare provider.