Popcorn Lung and Vaping
Everybody these days is talking about how vaping can or might increase your risk of developing popcorn lung. Which, in case you did not know, does not mean that your lungs get little puffed pieces of vapor stuck in them, or any such thing. Popcorn lung, whether caused by vaping or by it’s namesake (dangers associated with working in a microwave popcorn factory), is actually permanent scarring of the tiny air sacs in your lungs. And by permanent, I mean that it’s currently an irreversible condition that leads to shortness of breath and coughing, among other things.
In the case of vaping and popcorn lung, it’s a good idea to take a look at the details that have started this conversation to begin with. Popcorn lung, professionally referred to as bronchiolitis obliterans, is linked to inhalation of the flavoring agent diacetyl. What a recent Harvard study found, is that this same chemical and others with similar potential risk are found in many flavors of e-cigarettes. 75% of their test samples produced one or more hazardous chemicals when inhaled.
This does not mean that vaping is a sure path to irreversible lung scarring. And the study that everyone is talking about does not claim it will. What they hoped to start with this research, was a conversation about the lack of health regulations surrounding a drug that is currently rather under represented in the research arena. And many conversations have been started. I hope that deeper research uncovers that vaping is very safe, if you ignore the addictive nature of the delivery method and nicotine.
Until then, perhaps the stance that vaping is safer than conventional smoking but not as safe as quitting both is a good place to land. I’ll keep watching for more details to turn up.
Withdrawal when Quitting Vaping
People looking to quit vaping is a relatively new event, as these things go. People have been looking to quit smoking cigarettes for a long time, and because of this there are many resources to address concerns about withdrawal when doing so. The good news is that since the two primary addictions of smoking, the nicotine and the gesture, are almost identical when vaping, you can quite easily use the same references and solutions to the withdrawal you might experience when you decide to quit vaping.
When you look to quit, there are several potential withdrawal symptoms you might experience. These include hunger, irritability, depression, and of course the very powerful urge to partake in the act, whether or not there is nicotine involved. In fact, for many people the act of smoking or vaping is the harder addiction to break.
Those who have quit vaping generally recommend doing it in a staged method. Begin by slowly reducing the amount of nicotine in your juice over time until you get to 0mg altogether. This can take a different amount of time for you depending on how long you have vaped, how much nicotine you generally use, and other personal factors.
Even so, this does not take care of the “oral fixation” that many smokers and vapers develop. For that, it’s often good to replace bad routines with good ones, be it a simple as chewing a piece of gum, or more intense like working out. For those who have major withdrawal, it can be a good idea to join a quit smoking program. While there are very few out there for quitting vaping specifically, the concepts and tools are the same, and can go a long way toward helping you break the addictive habits.
Everyone is saying Ecigarettes are safer than smoking…
There are few that would argue that vaping is more dangerous than smoking. And the thing of it is, there is not enough research out there to even begin to make that claim.
On the flip side, however, there is way too little research about the current health risks of vaping to say for sure that the dangers are minimal and worth ignoring. For the sake of argument, I’d agree that vaping is safer than smoking, just from the difference in the amount of particulate matter inhaled. But that’s simply a logical assumption based on limited research.
Currently, the FDA is looking into more research and regulation, and many organizations have just started their own independent research on the risks of vaping, effects of the excessive amounts of nicotine that can be consumed if you’re not careful, and the potential dangers of secondhand vapor. That’s just to name a few of the risks that need to be more fully validated or debunked to answer the real question: Are electronic cigarettes bad for you?
In the meantime, vaping appears to be a valid path toward smoking cessation if used properly. And your lungs will thank you for putting less smoke in them for sure. But would they thank you even more for not putting chemical-laden vapor in them as well? Quite possibly.