Vaping: What Are the Risks?


Aidan Altmirano and Andrew Rhea

We’ve all seen it. A man stands on a street corner, steamy plumes issuing from his nostrils. Slowly, he raises a strange vessel to his lips. He gingerly holds it yet desperately inhales it, taking in that precious air. Reassuringly, it caresses his soul on the way down. Then he releases the air again, sending forth yet another jet of smoke. Vaping is a plague that is quickly overtaking our nation. But should we be concerned?

The Arizona Public Health Law Center defines vaping products as anything that consists of any mechanical heating element, battery or circuit, regardless of shape or size, that can be used to heat a liquid solution contained in cartridges. Vaping products are placed in the same category as tobacco and follow the same laws and regulations. All purchase and ownership of any vapor products is prohibited under the age of 18. However, in 2019 Walmart informed its employees that the age for purchasing any vaping products was raised to 21. reports that Tucson has also passed a bill, effective January 1st, that will raise the legal purchasing age to 21.

Lung related injuries have been found in many users of vaping products. As of October 1, 2019, 1,080 injuries were associated with the use of vaping products in 48 different states. 18 deaths were confirmed across 15 states, according to the Center of Disease and Control. Approximately 70% of patients are male and 30% are female. With a wide range of age groups being affected, 16% of patients are under 18 years old, 21% are 18-20 years old and 80% are 21-35 years old.

These products were marketed as safer alternatives to smoking, but that is not how many people use them. The National Health Interview Survey reports that 40% of young adults aged 18 to 24 were never smokers before vaping. Also, 58.8% of adults aged 25 to 44 were never smokers before vaping.

The Truth Initiative found that although 98.7% of all vaping products sold at convenience stores and supermarkets contain nicotine, most people don’t realize that.  According to a Truth Initiative study, 63% of current young and young adult JUUL users didn’t know that the product always contains nicotine.  60% of teens incorrectly described vaping products as being mostly comprised of flavoring.

If you would like to quit vaping, it is easy, at least in theory. Changing Tides Treatment recommends two methods: nicotine replacement and taper method. Nicotine replacement is what it sounds like; you switch out vaping with another source of nicotine such as gum or patches. This will quell your desire for vape itself. However, you are still addicted to nicotine. The taper method slowly gets you off vape a little at a time. Some people try both methods at once. You must decide what works best for you.