Dr. Al Danenberg ● Nutritional Periodontist
January 22, 2023
One of my close friends has asthma. I know he knows better than to compromise his lungs with cigarettes. However, he never knew the danger of vaping. The marketing of e-cigarettes is so believable, he thought he would be safe with vaping. Vaping was touted to be the safe alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.
On a Wednesday, a few weeks after daily vaping, he was found unconscious and not breathing. The cause – VAPING! The damage to his lungs was extensive and possibly permanent.
Fortunately, he didn’t die. He was revived to live longer and hopefully smarter.
So, what will it take to knock some sense into the heads of most people? And when will that day come?
Vaping – a Deadly Alternative
In 2003, a new product came to market that was supposed to be harmless. The “powers to be” marketed it as a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes. And it tasted good, too! The news was that “Vaping” was the answer to the addiction of cigarette smoking – especially among the younger generation.
But in the last couple of years, vaping has proven to be harmful to the mouth, damaging to the lungs, and a deadly alternative to cigarette smoking.
Again I ask, “What will it take to knock some sense into the heads of most people – especially our children?”
Will We Ever Learn?
Confirmation comes very slowly.
Waiting for confirmation is not an excuse to “vape” until all the evidence is in and proves without a doubt that vaping is deadly. We certainly did that with cigarette smoking allowing its devastating consequences to affect millions of smokers and nonsmokers.
For example, there wasn’t solid evidence before 1950 showing that cigarette smoking was bad for you. Doctors were recruited in those days to tout the benefits of cigarette smoking for themselves.
One of the most famous campaigns in those days was the “More Doctors” campaign for RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company’s Camels brand cigarettes. These ads, which appeared in magazines from Time to Ladies’ Home Journal and then in television commercials, claimed that according to a nationwide survey, “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette!”
It took decades to understand the lethal health effects of smoking tobacco, which still kills over eight million people annually. How long will we want to wait before we understand that vaping is harmful and potentially deadly?
In 2022, the CDC and FDA released its findings on the use of all tobacco products by the youth in the US. It showed that more than 10% of middle and high school students used a tobacco product during the past 30 days.
And when it comes to vaping, a Gallup poll uncovered that one in five adults between 18 and 30 vape regularly. That’s more than twice the number of adults in any other age group. Roughly four out of five 18- to 30-year-olds say smoking is “very harmful to health,” according to Gallup data. However, just one in five thinks vaping is very harmful to health.
So, my questions are …
- “When will we accept that vaping can be deadly?” And …
- “What will it take for the youth in our country to become proactive with their health?”
Research did not begin to show the toxicity of E-cigarettes until 2010. We’ve already lived 13 years since this research confirmed vaping’s toxicity. Need I say more?
I’m going to review some of the medical evidence to-date that may be helpful for the parents of our youth and for the youth themselves.
Let me enumerate what we know about vaping and its effects in the mouth, the gut, and our overall health …
- Our mouths are probably home to between 2,000 to 3,000 species of microbes, many of which may not be able to be cultured but are normally in a state of balance
- Vapor-producing chemicals are toxic to cells and can cause cancer
- Nicotine e-cigs will change the oral microbiome by increasing the potentially pathogenic periodontal bacteria
- Nicotine e-cigs will change the bacterial composition of dental plaque more than that of cigarette smokers and non-smokers
- Nicotine e-cigs will increase the risk of dental caries
- Nicotine e-cigs will increase inflammatory cytokines and decrease the non-inflammatory cytokines in oral environment by affecting the immune system
- Nicotine e-cigs will produce increased break down in pocket depths and attachment levels around teeth
- Nicotine e-cigs caused more nicotine to accumulate in oral tissue and saliva than conventional tobacco cigarettes
- Two e-cigarette pods can contain as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes
- E-cigarette aerosols will increase openings in tight junctions in the gut epithelial barrier allowing for leakage into the circulatory system (i.e., leaky gut) and increased chronic systemic inflammation
- Two chemicals used as a base for all e-cigarette liquid vapor — propylene glycol and vegetable glycerol — were the causes of inflammation.
- E-cigs create toxicity via oxidative stress, inflammation response, and DNA damage
- Vaping does not work as a “quitting agent” for conventional smoking
- Vaping is on the rise with youngsters and is seen as “not harmful”
- Flavorings can cause damage to lung tissues as well as irritate receptors in nerve endings linked to the heart and blood vessels
- Chemicals in e-cigs can increase secretions in the nasal passages and throughout the lungs and airways, leading to coughing and breathing difficulties
- Heating elements in e-cigs can cause increase in heavy metal exposure and ultimately heavy metal toxicity
- Vaping has been associated with severe respiratory health injuries and untimely deaths
- Vaping may increase the risk of severe symptoms and complications in people infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
- Nicotine e-cigs may inhibit apoptosis, thereby causing tumor cells to survive and proliferate while reducing the effects of chemotherapy drugs
My Personal Experience
At the beginning of this blog, I shared with you the scary experience my friend had with vaping. He was lucky.
Sadly, some of our younger generation wants to be “cool”. And sadly, vaping is perceived as “cool”. There are many activities that we think are fun and “cool” but are potentially deadly.
I encourage you to share this blog with your friends. Despite cautionary tales, vaping is becoming increasingly common. Sharing this information with your loved ones can help prevent them from dire consequences.
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