Lily Osborne – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) –  Most people are familiar with the term “e-cigarettes,” but not nearly as many know the harm that comes with them.

Electronic cigarettes, or E-cigarettes, have become extremely popular in recent years and have quickly become the most common tobacco products used by young people in the United States.

There are many different forms of e-cigarettes, including vapes, vape pens, hookah pens, and juuls. All of these look somewhat different, but they all contain the same harmful chemicals.

LRHS nurse Andrea Stratton is very knowledgeable on the serious threats that e-cigarettes pose. “The various chemicals (in e-cigarettes) can contribute to heart disease, cancer and birth defects.  People who smoke e-cigarettes also expose others to these health risks through second hand vapor.” Not only do e-cigs affect the people using them, but they also influence those around the smoke.

The most obvious chemical in these is nicotine. There is less nicotine in e-cigarettes than in traditional cigarettes, but any amount of nicotine is still highly addictive. This drug is known for its serious effects on the body, including its link to cancer.

New studies have found more threatening chemicals in e-cigarettes that can possibly hurt those that vape. Some of these are found in the liquids that gives e-cigs their flavored smoke, and other dangerous chemicals are leaking from the heating coils.

The reason these dangerous chemicals are just now being discovered in the liquid is because they aren’t listed on the ingredients list. Instead, they fall under the word “flavorings,” which most people don’t think about.

These chemicals include acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide and crotonaldehyde. These sound like rather boring additives but are all known to be rather toxic. Acrylonitrile, in fact, is commonly found in plastics, adhesives, and synthetic rubber.

All forms of e-cigarettes have a heating element, often heating coils. These coils are made from metals, which have recently been discovered to leak into the vapors that the users are intaking.

Possibly toxic levels of lead, arsenic, chromium, manganese, and nickel have all been found in e-cigarette liquids. Previous studies on high levels of these metals have discovered links to serious damage to the lungs, liver, brain, immune system, and cardiovascular system, and can even lead to cancer.

More studies are being carried out every day to try to better understand the true effects of these chemicals on people who smoke e-cigarettes. However, nothing will deny that they are harmful to the body.

The LRHS club Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) are very aware of all these downsides to e-cigs and are adamant about lowering the amount of e-cigarette and traditional cigarette users.

“SWAT engages in various educational campaigns throughout the school year,” said Stratton. The group hopes to change the way people think about tobacco products.”

With all of this in mind, people need to realize what they are putting into their bodies, especially developing teenagers. E-cigarettes might be popular among teenagers, or offer easy ways to relax and waste time, but they aren’t worth the possible life-altering effects that come with them.

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