Side Effects of Vaping

A growing body of research suggests that vaping is far more harmful than many people believe. Possible side effects being investigated include nicotine addiction and poisoning, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular issues.

What Are the Side Effects of Vaping?

Cigarettes are now well known for being the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

However, there is still a persistent myth that vaping — inhaling and exhaling the vaporized liquid produced by an e-cigarette or similar device — is smoking’s safe alternative, especially among teens and young adults.

Sadly, this is not true. Vaping can have serious consequences that lead to long-term health issues and even death.

Possible side effects of vaping include:

  • Nicotine addiction: E-cigarettes often contain even more nicotine than regular cigarettes, leading to addiction. Nicotine is especially damaging to children and young adults whose brains are still developing.
  • Respiratory problems: According to research from Harvard T.H. Chan, toxic chemicals inhaled while vaping may increase the risk of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Cardiovascular problems: Research from the American College of Cardiology suggests that using vape products may cause damage to the cardiovascular system, potentially leading to heart attacks and other heart issues.
  • Battery explosions and burn injuries: There have been several cases of vaping products exploding or burning users, leading to serious burns and other injuries.

Studies on the effects of vaping are underway, and with each passing year, the evidence of vaping’s negative side effects continues to grow.

Quick Facts

  • Vaping is marketed as a way to help smokers quit. It is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a smoking cessation method.
  • Vaping is a relatively new practice, so consumers and researchers alike do not know the full extent of its long-term dangers and side effects.

Nicotine Side Effects of Vaping

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a poisonous and highly addictive chemical produced naturally by tobacco plants.

Negative side effects of nicotine include: 

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Attention/cognition deficits
  • Brain development impairment
  • Irritability
  • Learning difficulties
  • Mood disorders
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced impulse control

Vape products often contain just as much, if not more, nicotine as traditional cigarettes. For example, each pod of vaping liquid typically contains the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.

Nicotine Poisoning

Nicotine poisoning may occur when an individual has too much nicotine in their body. E-cigarettes pose a high risk of nicotine poisoning because they contain liquid nicotine which is easier to absorb by the body.

According to the CDC, 50-60 milligrams of nicotine is enough to kill a 150-pound adult.

Parents should be especially vigilant in watching for any signs of nicotine poisoning.

Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include:

  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Changes in breathing
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Lethargy
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seizures

Dangers of Nicotine Exposure in Kids Who Vape

There has been a vaping epidemic in recent years as the use of e-cigarettes among those under 18 has skyrocketed.

E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among young people in the U.S., according to the CDC. This trend will potentially create a whole new generation of Americans suffering from nicotine addiction.

The CDC reports the following trends regarding e-cigarette use among young people: 

  • In 2018, 3.62 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes.
  • From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use increased by 78% among high school students.
  • E-cigarette use among middle school students increased by 48% from 2017 to 2018.

These trends are especially concerning because children are more susceptible to nicotine addiction. Further, nicotine exposure is especially dangerous to young people because it has long-lasting effects on learning, memory, mood, and attention.

Respiratory Side Effects of Vaping

A recent study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health suggests that the chemicals and substances used in e-cigarette flavorings may impair lung function.

Potential respiratory problems associated with vaping include:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Cell inflammation
  • Irritation
  • Poor lung function
  • Respiratory disease

E-cigarette companies argue that the flavoring chemicals used in vaping liquids are the same ones used for flavoring food and candies — meaning that they are safe to inhale. However, adding flavors to e-cigarette liquids changes their chemistry, creating irritants.

Toxic Chemicals in Vape Products

The U.S. Surgeon General notes that vape products contain various chemicals and other harmful substances that may lead to respiratory issues.

Harmful substances found in vape products include: 

  • Heavy metals
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Flavoring chemicals such as diacetyl
  • Ultrafine particles

A 2018 study from the University of North Carolina found that even in the absence of nicotine or flavoring chemicals, the main ingredients found in e-cigarettes — propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin — are toxic to cells.

Diacetyl in Vape Products

Diacetyl is a chemical often used in food products to give them a buttery flavor. However, when inhaled, the chemical can cause bronchiolitis obliterans, a lung disease nicknamed “popcorn lung” after popcorn factory workers were exposed to diacetyl and developed the condition.

Side effects of popcorn lung may include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing

A 2015 study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found the flavoring chemical diacetyl in more than 75% of the flavored electronic cigarettes and refill liquids that they tested.

Battery Explosions and Vaping

Most vape devices use lithium-ion batteries because they are long-lasting and lightweight.

However, according to a 2017 report by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), using these batteries with vape devices can be unpredictable and dangerous — this has shown to be true according to recent news stories surrounding vape battery explosions.

E-cigarette battery explosions may cause:

  • Broken bones
  • Laceration
  • Loss of fingers, teeth, and eyes
  • Scarring
  • Severe burns
  • Death

Battery explosion victims are seeking justice. In 2017, over 120 battery explosion and fire victims filed lawsuits against vaping manufacturers and sellers.

Fox 8 News reported on a man in Cleveland who suffered extreme second- and third-degree burns after his vaping device battery exploded in his pocket. He is filing a lawsuit against the battery’s manufacturer, LG Chem.

Additionally, the estate of William Brown, a 24-year-old who died after his vape pen exploded and severed an artery in his neck, is filing a wrongful death lawsuit on his behalf.

Long-Term Health Consequences of Vaping

Vaping products were only introduced to the United States in 2006, so their long-term health effects are still uncertain.

Current research suggests that vaping may cause: 

  • Cardiovascular problems: A 2019 study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concluded that high exposure to flavored vaping e-liquids creates conditions that often precede cardiovascular diseases. Further, a 2018 study published in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology suggested that e-cigarette flavorings may damage cells in the blood vessels and heart, raising the risk of cardiovascular injury.
  • Impaired brain development: According to Yale Medicine, nicotine may cause physical changes to the brains of middle and high schoolers. Additionally, animal studies have shown that the nicotine in vaping devices may impair brain function, causing issues with memory, focus, and learning.
  • Cancer: Although there is no evidence that vaping directly causes cancer, the FDA reports that “the vapor in e-cigarettes can cause changes to tissue in the airways that can induce cancer or be a precursor to cancer.”

We Are Here to Help

Vaping is not as harmless as once thought — this has become clear after multiple lawsuits surrounding nicotine addiction, battery explosions, and other injuries hit the news.

We understand how devastating it is when you or someone you love has been a victim of injustice.

Our team is here to help you. They can answer all of your questions about vaping-related personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits.

Do not wait — request a free case review today.

Author:Vape Danger Editorial Team
Vape Danger Editorial Team

Vape Danger helps people understand the dangers of vape and e-cigarette products. Vaping devices are marketed as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, vape pens and other devices may cause serious injuries and illnesses. The Vape Danger editorial team provides the latest studies and data to help readers make informed health and legal choices.

Last modified: August 26, 2019

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