The rise in cases of otherwise healthy young adults who have been hospitalized or even died from vaping-associated lung injury is alarming.
Many people don’t know what is contained in these vaping devices, what the reported health effects actually mean, and, most importantly, why all of this developed so quickly, considering that e-cigarettes have only been popular for fewer than 10 years.
Vaping describes the process of inhaling aerosols generated by devices such as e-cigarettes.
When e-cigarettes first came to the U.S. in 2006, many smoking cessation experts were optimistic. They viewed the delivery of nicotine through e-cigarettes to be a useful alternative to traditional cigarettes. That is because e-cigarettes did not have all of the other harmful combustion products inhaled through cigarette smoke. Since there is no doubt that smoking traditional cigarettes is harmful to your health – and the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. – e-cigarettes were marketed as a “safer” alternative.
As an inhalation toxicologist, I study how inhaled chemicals, particles and other agents affect human health. Since e-cigarettes were introduced, I have been concerned about how the scientific community could possibly know the full spectrum of their dangers. After all, it took decades for epidemiologists to discover that regularly inhaling the smoke from burning plant material, tobacco, caused lung cancer. Why would the scientific community be so quick to assume e-cigarettes would not have hidden dangers that might take years to manifest too?