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Vaping and Lung Health: What Studies Say

Introduction

Vaping, also known as electronic cigarette smoking, has become increasingly popular in recent years. In the United States, the number of high school students who reported vaping in the past month increased from 1.5% in 2011 to 20.8% in 2021. This rise in vaping has been attributed to a number of factors, including the perception that vaping is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, the availability of flavored e-cigarettes, and the use of social media to promote vaping.

However, there is growing evidence that vaping can have serious health consequences, including lung injury and death. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a new lung injury associated with vaping, which was later named EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury). EVALI is a serious lung disease that can cause inflammation, scarring, and damage to the small airways in the lungs. As of February 2023, the CDC has reported over 28,000 cases of EVALI and over 68 deaths.

What Studies Say About Vaping and Lung Health

A number of studies have investigated the health effects of vaping. Some of the findings from these studies include:

  • Vaping can cause lung injury. As mentioned above, EVALI is a serious lung disease that can be caused by vaping.
  • Vaping can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. A study published in the journal Circulation found that people who vape are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
  • Vaping can damage the immune system. A study published in the journal Nature Medicine found that vaping can damage the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to fight off infection.
  • Vaping can increase the risk of cancer. While more research is needed, some studies have found that vaping may increase the risk of cancer.

Real Anecdotes About the Effects of Vaping on Lung Health

In addition to the research studies, there are also a number of real anecdotes about the effects of vaping on lung health. Here are a few examples:

  • A 17-year-old boy from Illinois was hospitalized with EVALI in August 2019. He had been vaping for about six months and had developed a cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. He was eventually placed on a ventilator and spent two weeks in the hospital.6
  • A 20-year-old woman from California was hospitalized with EVALI in September 2019. She had been vaping for about a year and had developed a cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. She was eventually placed on a ventilator and spent three weeks in the hospital.7
  • A 30-year-old man from New York was hospitalized with EVALI in October 2019. He had been vaping for about two years and had developed a cough, shortness of breath, and chest pain. He was eventually placed on a ventilator and spent four weeks in the hospital.8

These are just a few examples of the serious health consequences that can occur from vaping. If you are considering vaping, please be aware of the risks. There is no safe way to vape.

What to Do If You Are Vaping

If you are vaping, it is important to stop. The best way to quit vaping is to talk to your doctor. They can help you develop a plan to quit and can provide you with support and resources.

If you are struggling to quit vaping on your own, there are a number of resources available to help you. These include:

  • The National Cancer Institute’s SmokefreeTXT program: This program provides free text messages and support to help you quit smoking or vaping.
  • The American Lung Association’s Freedom from Smoking program: This program provides free counseling and support to help you quit smoking or vaping.
  • The Quitline: This program provides free, confidential counseling and support to help you quit smoking or vaping.

Conclusion

Vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. It can cause serious health consequences, including lung injury and death. If you are vaping, please stop. There is no safe way to vape.

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