Originally created to be a way for smokers to wean off cigarettes, teens discovered the nicotine- filled juice of vapes and became hooked. Vaping drew teens in with fun flavors, with some of the most popular flavors being mango and mint. Now, because of nicotine’s addictive properties, a whole generation of high schoolers that was probably not going to smoke, are addicted to nicotine. And now, long term vapers (most of whom aren’t out of their twenties), are beginning to feel the damaging effects of these tiny devices.
Since vaping went mainstream, there has been lots of grey area surrounding the healthiness of e-cigarettes. Because it’s new technology, there haven’t been many studies completed on the long term effects of vaping. Most assumed that vaping was at least better than smoking, as it eliminates the tar and tobacco that traditional cigarettes are known for. However with the elimination of some harmful products, more are added.
This year, the first few cases of vape related illnesses are arising. State health departments in Illinois and Wisconsin began to track 53 patients at the first sign of illness, and their findings were shocking. The first signs of illness are shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain, while others report fatigue, fever, and vomiting. Most hospitalized end up with acute respiratory distress syndrome, which causes fluid to build up in the lungs, and prevents oxygen from circulating in the bloodstream.
So far, there have been about 380 probable cases of vaping related illness, and most think the chemicals in vapes are to blame. Part of the problem with tracing these chemicals is that people use vapes differently–some use the standard nicotine juice, while others craft their own cannabis infused pods.
With so little knowledge on the cause of illness, it will be interesting to see what happens with the future of vapes. The Trump administration has already made a statement about banning e-cigarettes, which may or may not help the vaping crisis in the U.S.