With U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy this week proclaiming e-cigarettes an emerging public health threat, we consider anew the dangers of vaping.
A lot of the danger is in what we don't know. E-cigarettes are relatively new, with no extensive history, and with a lack of studies on their effects. So, we don't know whether they will prove to be an entry drug, leading the people who use them to take up other tobacco products later in life.
Nicotine is not new, and we do know it is addictive. But, will those addicted to it be addicted to vaping, alone, or will they eventually turn to other things, as well, while they feed that addiction? And, does the addiction to vaping exceed or fall short of the addiction to traditional cigarettes?
How harmful is nicotine, in and of itself? For one thing, I understand it damages a developing brain, including the brain of a teenager. It has been linked to possible birth defects. In high dosages -- far higher than found in cigarettes and e-cigarettes -- it is lethal.
Does the moisture taken into the lungs create any damage?
Somehow, taking just a small amount of a drug that does kill when taken in large dosages seems unwise, to me. I am grateful I never fell into using any nicotine product, as it seems it surely would lessen my health in one way or another.