Safety of vaping becoming less cloudy

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Although they were first introduced as a “healthier” alternative to smoking, many teenagers and young adults have given in to the vaping trend.

The appeal of vapes amongst youth is certainly clear: juice in any flavour you can imagine, popularized by celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Katy Perry, apparently less harmful than tobacco, but is this new craze worth the potential harm?

Is it safer than, or just as bad as, tobacco?

While the long-term effects have yet to be determined, recent events have been shedding light on the adverse effects of vaping.

This afternoon, an Ontario health clinic announced a youth case of respiratory illness related to vaping. This is believed to be the first Canadian patient hospitalized over the concerns.

Health Canada has encouraged healthcare providers to ask their patients about vape usage and its effects on their health. They have also suggested that those who vape should monitor themselves for chest pain, difficulty breathing, and coughing.

In the United States, the death of a Californian man has raised the vaping-related death toll to seven. It is believed that nearly 400 people are currently hospitalized with lung illnesses linked to the use of vapes.

A laboratory in New York found high levels of vitamin E acetate in some of the vape products linked to outbreak of respiratory illnesses. Vitamin E acetate is a nutritional supplement that is generally safe, but the effects of inhalation have not been studied.

At this time, it is too early for researchers to pinpoint a direct component of vapes that is causing harm to the population.

Should they be banned?

President Donald Trump has proposed a ban on e-cigarettes containing anything aside from a tobacco flavor, in hopes that this will lessen its appeal to youth. On September 15, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a ban on selling flavoured vape products.

In both the United States and Canada, selling vapes to minors is illegal.

Contrary to popular belief, vaping is just as addicting as smoking cigarettes.

If you or somebody you know would like to quit smoking, or vaping, the health clinic on campus offers services to help. Appointments can be made by contacting them at behealthy@unb.ca or by phone at 506-648-5656.