Have you ever tried to quit smoking? For many smokers, it’s easier said than done. For some people, using nicotine patches or lozenges, going “cold turkey,” or even finding therapeutic treatments like hypnotism may be effective. But for those who don’t find success with those methods, quitting smoking can feel like an impossible feat.
Failure to quit smoking with traditional methods is a significant reason why many people turn to vaping (inhaling nicotine fluid as a vapor with an e-cigarette or “vape” device) to help them quit smoking. In theory, vaping should be safer than smoking, as it does not use fire to extract the smoke you inhale. Vaping also contains less of the dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes. But is it better for you than smoking?
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is no: Vaping is not safer than smoking. Why? Although vaping is kinder to your lungs and mouth when it comes to the actual smoke you inhale, it can often contain more nicotine than cigarettes, making it less than ideal for breaking your nicotine addiction. Plus, many vaping fluids do not disclose the amount of nicotine they contain, nor is it heavily regulated.
In addition to the nicotine problems, vaping also poses many other risks to your oral and overall health. Here are just a few:
The Dangers of Vaping to Oral Health
Tooth and Gum Damage
Vaping can cause damage to your teeth and gums because it can cause dry mouth, which, in addition to being annoying, can reduce your saliva production. This is dangerous for your teeth and gums because saliva is a vital element in helping to neutralize plaque acid and wash away harmful bacteria that lurk in the mouth. Dry mouth can, in turn, increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
We all know that nicotine is terrible for you, but do you know why it’s so dangerous? Nicotine can constrict your blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to your gums. Restricted blood flow can increase your risk of gum disease.
Because vaping fluid contains so many dangerous chemicals, it can irritate your oral tissues. This can cause inflammation of the gums, mouth sores, and mouth lesions. It can also make it easier for bacteria to infiltrate your gums, increasing your risk of gum disease.
Nobody wants yellow or brown teeth, a significant downside of smoking. But did you know that vaping can stain your teeth, too?
Overall Health Dangers
You might be surprised to learn that vaping can cause respiratory problems, much like smoking. This can include coughing, wheezing, increased risk of developing bronchitis, and even a condition known as “vaping-associated lung injury,” or VALI. Vaping-associated lung injury can be extremely dangerous, even life-threatening.
Vaping fluid that contains nicotine can raise your heart rate and your blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart problems, including cardiovascular disease.
Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals
When you vape, the vaping fluids produce aerosols that could contain harmful chemicals. These chemicals include formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein. These dangerous chemicals can cause lung problems as well as many overall health problems.
Whether you’re vaping to stop smoking or have picked up the habit without ever touching a traditional paper cigarette, the nicotine in vaping fluid can cause or extend a nicotine addiction. Nicotine addiction increases your nicotine dependence, making it difficult to quit using nicotine products, including cigarettes and e-cigarettes.
Dangers to Children and Teens
Unfortunately, because vaping has the reputation of being somewhat safer than cigarettes, many teens and children are drawn to the habit. It doesn’t help that vaping fluid comes in fruity and sweet flavors that are attractive to young people. As a result, vaping has become very popular among teens and children, which can be extremely dangerous to their development and cause the same addiction to nicotine that occurs in adults who vape.
In addition to affecting the person using the vape, vaping fluid can act much like secondhand smoke, causing those nearby to inhale the same chemicals as the vaper. This can cause the same dangerous side effects in innocent bystanders, as well as increase their risk of nicotine addiction.
Additionally, vaping can damage your furniture and walls, coating them with sticky vape residue that creates odor and can be transferred to people and pets when they sit on the couch, play on the floor, or touch anything in the room that has been vaped in.
The Bottom Line
While we do know some of the many dangers of vaping, the long-term health effects of this dangerous habit have not yet come to light, as the industry is still relatively new and new products are introduced all the time. Thus, we recommend you skip vaping altogether.
If you are struggling to find a way to quit smoking, speak to your primary care doctor or Dr. Morgan about cessation methods, and be sure to attend your regular exams with Dr. Morgan.