There is an increase in the use of people using electronic cigarettes, AKA “vaping,” electronic
battery powered devices that heat up nicotine-infused liquids to produce
Nicotine is the primary agent in both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and it is
highly addictive. It causes you to crave a smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms
if you ignore the craving. Nicotine is also a toxic substance. It raises your blood
pressure and spikes your adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and the
likelihood of having a heart attack.
Is vaping bad for you? There are many unknowns about vaping, including what
chemicals make up the vapor and how they affect physical health over the long
term. “You need to know that e-cigarettes are potentially dangerous to your
health,” says Orleans Parish Coroner, Dr. Dwight McKenna. “You’re exposing
yourself to various chemicals that we don’t yet understand and that are probably
Dr. McKenna says in 2011, just 2% of high school children said they had tried e-
cigarettes, or vaping. Today, two in five high school seniors say they have
Dr. McKenna says this appears to be the trend among young people who are
having their brains exposed to nicotine more today than they have in years.
Many teens may think they are inhaling flavored vapor but they’re really inhaling
nicotine, an addictive drug that can be uniquely harmful to the developing brain.
There are also some nicotine-free vaping devices that are causing concern. The
vapor often contains propylene glycol, a lung irritant that can impact behavior and
the central nervous system, and diacetyl, a chemical linked to a debilitating
respiratory disease known as ‘popcorn lung.’
Even more concerning, McKenna says, is studies that show teens who vape are
three times as likely to start smoking real cigarettes. What can we do? One thing is
to encourage parents to talk to children about vaping, make sure they know the risks,
and set a good example by not smoking around them.