Fitness Facts: A cloud of uncertainty – the e-cigarette paradox
By Lily Limon
Family Nurse Practitioner, Canyon Health and Wellness Center
Little is known of the long-term health ramifications of e-cigarette use, especially in younger populations.
Electronic cigarette use, or “vaping,” is becoming more of a socially accepted trend to the traditional nicotine rolled cigarette counterpart. Several varieties are available with even more scents and flavors, making it highly popular and marketable, especially with the younger generation.
It was noted by Dr. Brian Jensen and Dr. Susan Walley in Pediatrics (February 2019, Vol. 143, Issue 2) that “electronic cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth.”
The Surgeon General’s Report on e-cigarette use among young adults concluded that e-cigarettes are unsafe for adolescents and are a gateway to the known lethal traditional cigarettes later in life.
There are also other components of long-term lung damage caused by unknown variables. Some thoughts include:
- Various chemicals added to the e-cigarettes.
- Heated vapor vs. cooled inhaled vapor, causing in certain instances lung tissue changes, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, eosinophilic lung changes and acute respiratory distress syndrome. Those issues can result in lengthy stays in intensive care and a rapid decline in lifestyle because of an inability to breathe.
This once rare phenomenon is now popping up in emergency rooms across the United States with greater incidence in our college-age population, and more studies are being conducted because of the severity and damaging effects being found.
For more information, see the following references:
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis and acute respiratory distress syndrome from e-cigarette use: Sommerfeld, C. G., Weiner, D. J., Nowalk, A., & Larkin, A. (2018). Pediatrics, 141(6), e20163927.
- Acute eosinophilic pneumonia following electronic cigarette use: Arter, Z. L., Wiggins, A., Hudspath, C., Kisling, A., Hostler, D. C., & Hostler, J. M. (2019). Respiratory medicine case reports, 27, 100825.
- “Tar Wars: The (Tobacco) Empire Strikes Back”: Bush, A., Bhatt, J., & Grigg, J. (2018). Archives of disease in childhood, archdischild-2018.
- “Cookies and Cream Lung: Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Leading to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome After Electronic Cigarette Use”: Kaslow, J., Brown, R. F., & Fazili, M. (2019). In Pediatric Clinical Chest Rounds (pp. A7497-A7497), American Thoracic Society.