In the last decade, we have seen the rise in popularity of vaping and e-cigarettes.
Vaping and Its Effects
“Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, include e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, and e-cigars are known collectively as ENDS—electronic nicotine delivery systems. According to the FDA, e-cigarettes are devices that allow users to inhale an aerosol containing nicotine or other substances. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are generally battery-operated and use a heating element to heat e-liquid from a refillable cartridge, releasing a chemical-filled aerosol.” –American Lung Association
What’s the Harm in Vaping?
E-cigarettes are marketed as a safer alternative to combustible tobacco products. They are considered as a “safer” way to consume nicotine.
New research, however, is challenging that belief with more evidence about the risks of these products:
- Highly addictive
- Exposure to toxic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Inflammation of the lungs
- Difficulty breathing
- Irreversible lung damage/ lung disease
- Increased risk of heart attack
Environmental Impact of Vaping
Aside from the obvious health risks, our environment and air quality are also feeling the ill effects of e-cigarettes.
There has been a huge push in recent years to stop the use of single use plastic products like straws and k-cups, and yet e-cigarettes are just as environmentally irresponsible. Each JUUL cartridge, or pod, contains 200 puffs and is intended for a single-use.
Here’s a warning from Yogi H. Hendid, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, with a background in environmental philosophy and public health: “[E-cigarettes and vaping products’] endocrine-disrupting plastics, lithium-ion batteries, and electronic circuit boards require disassembly, sorting, and proper recycling and disposal. Their instructions do not say anything about disposal. Electronic waste (e-waste) already presents a daunting environmental quandary and is notoriously difficult to recycle. When littered, broken devices can leach metals, battery acid, and nicotine into the local environment and urban landscape.”