To Vape Or Not To Vape
The decision to vape is not fairly divided.
For some of us, we’ve tried vaping. We liked it—we really did—but the thing is: some of us don’t smoke cigarettes that often, and the vape leaked all over, thanks to lack of use. It also ran out of charge a lot.
When we did use our vapes, we’d ramp up the wattage to over 40 so we could puff the biggest cloud. Then we’d get the biggest sore throat. So we never really knew when we’d had enough and just vape continuously, which seems pointless as we were supposed to be cutting back.
Anyway, a string of news reports in 2019 have totally, and utterly, trashed vaping. As of September 2019, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been made aware of 530 cases of lung injuries associated with e-cigarettes. The thing is, there are some chemical nasties that can appear in vape juice—especially homemade concoctions.
So, what exactly is in these juices that can cause serious lung illnesses? The answer is potentially a lot, but at the moment there are two known ones to avoid:
This is a bittersweet one (pun intended). This chemical is responsible for the yummy, smooth butterscotch flavors in dark ales and Belgian beers, and also pretty much any foodstuffs that taste buttery. But inhalation of heated diacetyl in vapors (most notably in factories) can cause an irreparable condition called “Popcorn lung”—so named due to the shape your alveoli (the tiny sacs in your lungs that transfer oxygen into your bloodstream) become once the scar tissue from the inflammation forms. It ultimately stops your body from absorbing oxygen, and reduces the capacity of your lungs.
Safety in factories has been increased, however pre-existing medical conditions, and large-scale vaping of Diacetyl-containing liquids, can lead to the reemergence of this terrible disease.
Otherwise known as your friendly Vitamin E oil. Good for your skin, not so good at over 212 degrees F (100 degrees C) in your lungs. In fact, studies have shown that it exacerbates, and in some cases, instigates asthma. The same studies suggest that eating this type of oil (not Y-Tocopheryl) can also fight inflammation.
“The issue being that when inhaled, [A-Tocopheryl Acetate] is likely to accumulate at higher levels in the [lung immune cells],” according to Dr. Sven-Eric Jordt, Research Project Director for the Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS). “Vitamin E acetate may also oxidize or burn when heated too high in a vaping device, producing toxic chemicals in the vapor.”
Furthermore, once A-Tocopheryl Acetate cools down in your lungs, it returns to its oil form. This can potentially cause illness because the lungs are not equipped to handle a substance that isn’t a gas.
And that leads us on to our final point, there are other chemicals in some vape juices that we don’t really know anything about. Over 100 chemicals are currently being tested by the CDC and we may find more. Essentially “the lungs are designed to exchange gas molecules; they’re not designed to be exposed to other chemicals,” said Laura Crotty Alexander, Lung Inflammation and E-cigarette Researcher at the University of California at San Diego’s School of Medicine.
So, what does this mean for you?
To vape or not to vape is your call, but make sure you buy your liquid from reputable companies that clearly list their ingredients. Do your research. Watch out for nasties. And like any good thing: never do too much!