If the current haze situation has blurred your vision on the roads, we hope it hasn’t clouded your outlook on how vaping has gained cult-like status worldwide particularly among youths. From just over 25 millions users in 2015 to a staggering 41 million in 2018, the global market worth of the vaping industry has now spiked to a whopping 19.3 billion USD (RM 80.452 billion), compared to just 6.9 billion USD (RM 28.76 billion) 5 years prior. With the growing amount of consumers and kaleidoscope of flavours available, it is highly unlikely that the vape industry will pump its brakes anytime soon.
However, with the recent series of deaths (six to be precise) as well as hundreds of lung-related complications and hospitalisation related to vaping in the United States, the industry’s ambition to reach new heights may be a little jaded for now. With a united message that is currently resonating across the globe, health officials are calling for the public to refrain from using vape in fear of a new string of severe respiratory illnesses. Despite its pervasive, and relatively harmless perception on the use of vape products, here are the 3 reasons why vaping may in fact increase your mortality rate faster than cigarettes:
- Risk of immediate death
Mortality related to tobacco use is often associated with the accumulation of cigarette smoking years as well as the gradual increase of packs smoked over time. Vape on the other hand, as witnessed by health officials in the United States, is able to produce health effects in a matter of months if not weeks. According to multiple reports, all six people who died from this new form of severe respiratory illness, and the majority of those hospitalised, have had short and relatively recent history of vape use. Lung damage associated with vape use are abrupt and drastic to the point that the most recent patient hospitalised for vaping, 18 year old Adam Hergenreder, was told that his lungs showed irreversible signs of damage, consistent with the lungs of a 70-year-old!
- The uncertainty of chemical contents
Guessing the contents of any vape juice, from any given brand is as good as shooting in the dark. Sure, you’d probably hit the nail on the head with a few, but it is almost impossible to know for certain what the rest are. This is because no two vape flavours out there are the same, and all of them differ across manufacturers. To make matters worse, vapers also have the liberty to concoct premixed flavours with existing juices in their stash. This encourages interaction between various chemicals, producing potentially dangerous byproducts in the process. A good example of this is the formation of acetals from the interaction between propylene glycol (PG) and aldehydes-based flavourants. Acetals is a compound known to cause irritation to the receptors in the airway, inducing certain upper and lower airway diseases but since most manufacturers aren’t aware of this, basic yet responsible warnings are left out of packaging labels. On top of that, the novelty and nascency of vape means that it’s still too early for researchers to predict long-term detrimental health effects that it could introduce.
- Younger vapers, earlier complications
Unlike vape products, purchase of cigarettes in Malaysia is restricted to only those aged 18 and above. Without any age regulations for the former, there have even been reports of vape users as young as 8 years old! These young nicotine addicts are not only exposed to the side effects and complications related to nicotine dependency, but also the health effects of various undetermined chemicals in different vape juices, as illustrated in the preceding point. According to the United States’ Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average age of patients suffering from vape-related lung complications in the recent wave is 19 years old, that’s barely two decades into life!
Vaping just isn’t worth it
While the definitive cause for vape-related lung complications and respiratory illnesses is still uncertain, researchers are painstakingly dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s in a bid to identify the compounds responsible for such drastic effects as seen in recent cases. The research process may take time to yield conclusive results, but health officials are taking no chances and urging the public to kick the habit of vaping. As for those who have transitioned from smoking cigarettes to vaping, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your choices and quit while you’re ahead – let not the smoke cloud your better judgement. To help Malaysian smokers give up the habit of smoking successfully, the government has increased the availability and the accessibility of the mQuit service.
To quit right now, visit http://jomquit.moh.gov.my/.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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Review Date: September 24, 2019 | Last Modified: November 15, 2019
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