Picture an attractive Bette Davis in All About Eve, wearing an off-the-shoulder evening dress and holding a cigarette. The elegance, the mystery, the sophistication, that was the image portrayed 60 years ago. Back then, smoking was just “swell” until we found out all the health problems smoking came with.
Nowadays, a new trend has come into the picture: vaping. Colorful ads with young, healthy people “vaping-away” can be found everywhere. Vaping is fashionable among the youth.
What is Vaping?
The act of inhaling vapor created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is called vaping.
E-cigarettes are also known as “e-cigs”, “mods”, “vapes”, “vape pens”, “e-hookas”, “tank systems”, and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)”. They come in all sizes, colors, and shapes. Some look like regular cigarettes, pipes, or cigars, others are shaped like pens or USB drives.
All e-cigs have three distinctive components: a battery, an element that creates heat, and a place that holds liquid. To vape, you need to place a cartridge (filled with a liquid mix of nicotine, flavorings, and chemicals) into the device. Next, the liquid gets heated creating vapor, and then it gets inhaled. (1)
Vaping Among Teenagers
In the last few years, vaping has gained popularity among teens. The National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) reported an increase of 78 percent, from 2017 to 2018, of teens using e-cigarettes in the United States. Making a total of 3.6 million kids vaping, these are students from the 8th, 10th, and 12th grades. (2)
Can Vaping Cloud Thinking?
A recently published study analyzed the relation between vaping and mental impairment among adults and kids. Between 2016 and 2017, the group of scientists from the University of Rochester Medical Center, in New York, gathered information from 936,319 participants. They were 18 years of age and older, from all 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia and three other U.S. territories. (3)
The research showed that the subjects who vape or smoke experienced problems with memory, attention, and mental function, despite their age. On the other hand, the group that did not smoke or vape did not present any signs of clouded thinking.
Even though the results of the research presented a clear relation between vaping and the decline of mental function, it is not clear for scientists what could be the cause. They considered the possibility that nicotine is the key factor causing mental impairment. However, the idea of people experiencing cognitive issues are more likely to vape is feasible too. (4)
The Future of Vaping
As vaping is very new, it is hard to know now the long-term effects of it. We would get more light into this matter as researchers and scientists continue investigating and discovering new information. However, what started as an alternative for people who wanted to quit smoking had developed into a problem on its own. From people getting poison by harmful chemicals to explosions of e-cigarette batteries causing injuries, vaping is not so cool as the ads said.