Electronic cigarettes have been marketed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. The idea is that because users aren’t ingesting all of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, that vaping will not increase cancer risk. However, since e-cigarettes have only been around for a really short time (less than 20 years), it’s impossible to say yet whether they are carcinogenic. Now, a new study from Rutgers University is showing some unsettling findings. The study shows that even though e-cigs may not be as harmful to health as regular cigarettes, they may very well be just as addicting.
The study showed that about 10 million American adults and 3.6 million teenagers are currently using e-cigarettes — but more than 60 percent of those users want to quit. However, of the 1,771 people surveyed in the Rutgers study, only about a quarter of users actually tried quitting. About 16 percent said they “planned” to quit in the coming month. It’s not clear how many users actually quit.READ MORE
As of now, it’s hard to target Juul and other vaping companies with legislation because of the lack of proof when it comes to harm their products cause. However, SurvivorNet spoke to Dr. Brandon Stiles, a thoracic surgeon at Weill Cornell Medical Center, about the issue — and he made it clear that it’s not outrageous at all to think that vaping may lead to cancer, and the sooner studies are done looking at the effects of these products, the better.
“If we wait 10 to 15 year until we see the clinical effects on all these kids who have taken up vaping, it’s going to be too late,” Dr. Stiles said. “What effect do these compounds have on lung health? On lung inflammation on young people? On old people? … There’s plenty of history of other inflammatory lung conditions causing or triggering lung cancer, so for me it’s not a great leap to think that inhalation from vaping can trigger lung cancer down the road or other inflammatory lung diseases.”
Since doctors don’t yet know how harmful vaping actually is, the main concern right now is addiction. Juul pods and other e-cigarettes may not contain as many harmful chemicals as traditional cigarettes, but they do contain a substantial amount of nicotine — the addicting ingredient in cigarettes. E-cigarettes actually contain even more nicotine than cigarettes do. One Juul pod has about as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been cracking down on Juul and other companies that make e-cigarettes, proposing new regulations earlier this year that would hopefully make it harder for the companies to sell products to teens. But if the Rutgers research indicates anything, it’s that addiction to these products is already a real problem.