Vaping Can Cause Tooth Decay, Lung Issues and Decreased Attention Spans
The CDC reports the vapor in e-cigarettes exposes both the user and those around them to harmful substances like volatile organic compounds, cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals. Even some flavorings are linked to serious lung disease.
“The negative health effects start from the first moment the vapor of an e-cigarette is inhaled,” Dr. Barnes points out. “The damage compounds and expands with continued use.”
Dr. Barnes paints a picture of the impact an e-cigarette can have from the immediate moments of inhalation to months or years later. He details the different areas of the body that are affected and the varying levels of severity children and teens face. We started with the mouth.
“In the immediate minutes after vaping, individuals may experience dry mouth. After time, continued vaping can actually change the bacteria in a person’s mouth, leading to plaque buildup and tooth decay,” he explains.
From there, the potentially harmful vapor travels down to the lungs and can cause a range of effects from mild coughing and shortness of breath to more serious breathing difficulties and wheezing.
“There are reports that vaping has been associated with spontaneous collapsed lung, which can cause a fairly abrupt onset of shortness of breath and chest pain. It may require a tube to re-expand the lung.”
Dr. Barnes adds that the oily/fatty droplets in vaping liquid can lead to a rare type of pneumonia. Vaping can also lead to a condition called popcorn lung, which is similar to asthma but is generally irreversible. In the most severe cases, vaping can cause rapid onset respiratory failure that may require a lung transplant, and there have been reports of deaths.
Think the danger stops there? It doesn’t.
Vaping impacts the brain.
“There is evidence that nicotine can harm the developing brains of children and teens. It is associated with decreased attention, struggles with learning and difficulty in managing moods and impulse control,” Dr. Barnes details. “These problems may even persist into adulthood.”
With continued use, the nicotine in e-cigarettes can change the connection between brain cells, making it more difficult to form memories or learn new skills.