The Lowdown on Vaping


Posted by the Department of Health (Philippines)

Tori Hutchinson, Health & Relationships Writor

Vaping. The new “safe” alternative to smoking. Electronic cigarettes are considered to be less harmful than regular cigarettes, but in reality, it’s just as bad. According to, as of October 2019, there have been 18 deaths and over 1,000 vaping related injuries.

Vaping has become popular with teens because it’s the new fad in our generation. The percentage of teenagers who smoke e-cigarettes have gone up in the last four years, from 5% to 19%. In 2015, three million U.S. students in middle school and high school tried e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes come in different forms such as Juuls, vape pens, and vape mods. Some contain loads of nicotine and some have marijauna or just flavoring. Which brings us to why vaping can be so addicting and why the percentage of teenagers vaping has gone up. So why is vaping so addicting? Well, when you’re smoking cigarettes you are inhaling smoke from combustible tobacco, but when you’re vaping it’s a vaporized nicotine, which still delivers harmful chemicals.

Many people think vapes don’t contain any nicotine, but they contain just as much as regular cigarettes. This nicotine can change your brain which can make you become addicted. Another reason vaping can become so addictive is because of the flavoring they contain. You can get almost any flavoring you would want. This is a big factor in pulling teenagers into the trap.

According to, another theory to why e-cigarettes are so addictive is that “the adolescent brain is more sensitive to rewards”. To summarize what this is: vaping is more dangerous to brains that aren’t fully developed, so under the age of 25. So, these teenagers that are consuming this nicotine think of it almost as a reward because the mesolimbic dopamine system, or reward system, is one of the more primitive parts of the brain. It works as an uplifting feedback for conduct we have to endure. Since the mechanism is so ingrained in the brain, it is particularly difficult to stand up to.

So, when a teen inhales vapor laced with nicotine it reaches the brain in about 10 seconds. There, nicotine particles fit lock-and-key into a sort of acetylcholine receptor situated on neurons (nerve cells) all through the mind.

These vapes are just as addicting as regular cigarettes, so what’s the difference between these two things? As mentioned earlier, when you’re vaping you’re inhaling vaporized nicotine. Knowing this we know e-cigarettes most likely don’t contain 7,000 chemicals, some which can cause cancer, like standard ignitible cigarettes do. Although the aerosol in vapes has not been proven to be any safer, studies have discovered that it contains lead and unstable natural aggravates, some of which are connected to cancer. These e-cigarettes contain diacetyl and other flavorings that can be super harmful to the lungs.

Diacetyl can be very dangerous. When inhaled, diacetyl can cause “popcorn lung”, also known as bronchiolitis obliterans. Popcorn lung has similar symptoms as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The name popcorn lung may not sound too threatening, but it’s a serious lung disease that can cause traumatic respiratory harm.

Then there’s the “pod mod”, a newer and popular type of vape device. This device outcompetes all other e-cigarettes when it comes to the levels of nicotine they contain. The type of nicotine in these units is evaluated to be 2 to 10 times more focused than most free-base nicotine found in other vape liquids. One case from one vape maker contains 0.7 mL of nicotine, which is about equivalent to 20 normal cigarettes.

Researchers are still gathering data for long term effects of vaping. But recently there have been many stories of people in the hospital because of vaping, especially teenagers. These teenagers usually end up denying they have been vaping. An 18 year old showed up in the Long Island emergency room, vomiting, dizzy, and gasping for breath. The doctor simply asked if he had been vaping, he said no. The patient’s older brother was a police officer and he was very suspicious. He scavenged through the young’s room and found hidden vials of weed for vaping.“I don’t know where he purchased it.” said Dr. Melodi Pirzada, boss pediatric pulmonologist at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, N.Y., who treated the young boy. “Luckily, he survived.”

There are many adults and even teens who warn people what vaping can do to your body and your life. But there’s one doctor, Dr. Rose Marie Leslie, who is teaching teens and adults what vaping can do to your body through the popular app TikTok. Leslie posts videos updating people about the newest vaping diseases and how it affects your body. She shows x-rays and CT scans of people with the disease(s). One of her videos got over 4 million views, her account @drleslie has over 270,000 followers. She uses her account to provide medical advice to a teenage audience.

Her account is an amazing way to reach out to teens about this issue. It’s important for teenagers to keep in the back of their mind the consequences and effects of vaping and what you’re doing to your body.