In recent years, vaping has gained popularity among people of all age groups, with many believing it to be a safer alternative to traditional smoking. However, the reality behind those sweet-smelling clouds is far from harmless, especially when it comes to cardiopulmonary health. As a nonprofit hospital dedicated to the well-being of our community, OakBend feels a responsibility to shed light on the concerning risks associated with vaping.
“Vape cartridges contain nicotine. We already know that this is a highly addictive chemical and we know that it leads to slow development in teens. Nicotine can affect your memory, your concentration, your learning, and your mood,” stated Christy Boerger, Director of Cardiopulmonary. She emphasized that cardiopulmonary health, which encompasses the heart and lungs, is particularly vulnerable to the harmful substances present in vape aerosols.
As part of the effort to address this pressing issue, House Bill 114 (HB 114) will come into effect on September 1, 2023. This significant law aims to tackle the serious problem of vaping and e-cigarette use among students. Under HB 114, any student found in possession of vaping/e-cigarette devices on campus will face immediate placement in a Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP). Furthermore, the law mandates that students engaging in conduct involving false alarms or threats in public schools will also be placed in DAEP.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the risks associated with vaping:
- Damage to Lung Tissue: Vaping exposes the lungs to harmful chemicals and particles that can damage delicate lung tissues. The aerosols from e-cigarettes contain harmful substances such as formaldehyde, acrolein, and diacetyl, which can lead to inflammation and respiratory issues.
- Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Nicotine, found in abundance in vape cartridges, stimulates the release of adrenaline, causing the heart rate to increase and blood pressure to rise. These effects can pose serious risks to individuals with pre-existing heart conditions.
- Respiratory Irritation: The aerosols produced by vaping can irritate the airways, leading to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. For individuals with asthma or chronic respiratory conditions, this can exacerbate their symptoms and hinder their overall quality of life.
- Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Studies have indicated that vaping may increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and heart attacks. The toxic chemicals in e-cigarette aerosols can have damaging effects on blood vessels and the heart.
- Gateway to Smoking: Contrary to its intended purpose, vaping has become a gateway to traditional cigarette smoking, especially among young people. Individuals who vape are more likely to transition to smoking, putting them at even greater risk of cardiopulmonary issues.
At OakBend, our mission is to promote and protect the health of our community. We encourage everyone, especially parents and educators, to educate themselves and others about the risks of vaping. By fostering awareness and initiating open conversations, we can equip our youth with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their health.
If you or a loved one have any concerns about your cardiopulmonary health or would like more information about the risks of vaping, we are here to help.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our dedicated Cardiopulmonary team for expert guidance and support. You can schedule a consultation or seek more information by calling us at (281) 341-3000.
Together, we can work towards a healthier, smoke-free future for all.
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