Is vaping safe and how does it work?

IF THE IMPACT OF CONVENTIONAL CIGARETTES ON HEALTH IS WELL STUDYED , then little is known about electronic ones – there are no large studies with uniform conclusions on this matter. This is because vaping appeared relatively recently – in our country it is five years old, and it takes several decades for full scientific conclusions. Meanwhile, vaping is gaining popularity, and it is positioned as a harmless entertainment – and clubs of fragrant steam can be seen on the street, in institutes and business centers. Is this a real opportunity to quit smoking or is it a clever trick of marketers?  

Let’s try to figure it out together with experts: Doctor of Medical Sciences, a pulmonologist at the SM-Clinic medical center Vyacheslav Ignatiev, a member of the European Respiratory Society, a pulmonologist at the Medicina clinic Maxim Novikov and co-founder of the URBN vaping fluid brand Ilya Kalinin.

Why does everyone vape

Vape is a type of electronic cigarette. The device consists of two parts: a battery pack (accumulator) and an evaporator, into which a special liquid is poured. The principle of its operation is simple: the current from the battery enters the heating element of the evaporator, converting the filled liquid into vapor, which is suitable for inhalation and looks like thick tobacco smoke. Often “electronic cigarettes” are erroneously called outdated disposable models of these devices, which are shaped like ordinary cigarettes.

Vapes are the next generation of devices. These gadgets are not so compact, but they are noticeably more powerful, give more steam and are suitable for multiple use – just fill them with a liquid that suits your taste and strength. By the way, the wide range of flavors is why many ex-smokers preferred vaping to a pack of cigarettes. In shape, the device may resemble, for example, a cigar or a smoking pipe – but more often it is just a cylinder. It is used like a regular cigarette to get a dose of nicotine, or as a device that allows you to inhale flavored vapor without a narcotic substance. The process itself got its name from the English “vape” – “inhale and exhale steam”, that is, in Russian it can be called vaping.

In fact, vaping is an imitation of tobacco smoking, when you feel the object in your hand, you can take a puff and exhale the “smoke”, and, if desired, get the required dose of nicotine. According to Ilya Kalinin, every year there are more vapers, mainly because vaping, as stated in one of the studies, is several times safer than smoking tobacco : it does not cause combustion, and therefore the production of a large amount of harmful substances. This reduces the risk of developing respiratory diseases. Absence of bad breath, yellow plaque on teeth, ash-burnt clothes are additional bonuses of giving up regular cigarettes in favor of vaping. In the United States, vaping is so popular that a new direction has developed from it – cloudchasing, a kind of art to control steam and create clouds of bizarre shapes out of it. According klaudcheysingu festivals and battles, where competing professional veypery. 

How does steam affect the lungs?

Interest in vaping continues to grow in our country, but the idea that vaping is absolutely harmless is a common myth. Pulmonologist Vyacheslav Ignatiev proposes to divide all vapers into two groups. The first is those who started vaping after quitting tobacco smoking. In this case, the damage done to health will really decrease (of course, if you do not use the vape too often and do not increase the dosage of nicotine), although it will not disappear completely. The second group will include those who were not smokers before, but started vaping, succumbing to fashion. And there is little good in this: vaping liquids usually contain nicotine, even if there is not a word about it on the label (in our country, electronic cigarettes are certified as electronic devices, that is, the contents of the liquid solution are not checked). In addition, they may contain over 30 toxic substances (formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, acetone and others), the concentration of which increases with the temperature and power of the electronic device.    

The vapor from electronic cigarettes does not contain combustion products (soot and tar) that cause inflammation and destruction of lung epithelial cells, as is the case with tobacco smoke – but liquid droplets settle on the walls of the respiratory tract, and this makes it difficult for them to work. Less oxygen enters the blood and hypoxia (oxygen starvation) sets in. As a result, all intracellular processes slow down, cell division is disrupted, and processes usually associated with aging are accelerated. At the same time, when you use vape too often, salivation increases – and phlegm with microbes and their toxins begins to accumulate in the bronchi, which, of course, does not benefit health. 

How to choose the safest liquid 

In Russia, liquid for electronic devices is represented by different brands: domestic, Chinese, American and others. According to Ilya Kalinin, there is a lot of counterfeit products on this market, so it is best to shop in large vape shops and always read the label. You need to pay attention to the presence of the following four points: the expiration date of the solution, its composition, the legal entity and the manufacturer’s address, the number of technical conditions (in Russia there is no GOST for liquid for electronic cigarettes, which means that manufacturers are obliged to independently develop and comply with the TU). The packaging format should also be taken into account. For example, nicotine deteriorates under the influence of direct sunlight, that is, solutions containing it should be stored in a dark opaque glass.

In our country, anyone can purchase a vape or liquid for an electronic device, including those under the age of eighteen: there is no law prohibiting such actions yet. Physician- pulmonologist Maxim Novikov notes that very often the packaging does not contain accurate information about the chemical composition of the solution and the concentration of substances in the smoking liquid, or it does not correspond to reality. In addition, regular inhalation of even relatively pure steam can lead to serious health problems, especially during the period when the body is growing.

local_offerevent_note September 6, 2021

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