Vaping or “JUULing” has been the talk of the town recently.
Vaping refers to the practice of using electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes that contain cartridges full of nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals. Also known as vape pens, e-cigarettes consist of an atomizer, battery, and containers known as cartridges or tanks. Instead of smoke, users inhale vapors from the chemicals in cartridges, hence the term “vaping.” While asthma and smoking cigarettes are well-known concerns, is vaping bad for asthma? Let’s get into it.
What Is Asthma?
Also known as bronchial asthma, asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrowed, and swelled while producing extra mucus, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma can range from minor to severe. Untreated asthma attacks can even be life-threatening.
When you have an asthma attack, your airways narrow and inflame, making it difficult to breathe. This may be caused by muscle spasms around the airways, inflammation, and swelling of the mucus membranes that line the inside of your airways, or a build-up of mucus.
Common symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Wheezing when exhaling
- Trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that get worse with respiratory diseases, like the flu or a cold
Asthma symptoms can also flare up in certain situations for different people:
- Exercise-induced asthma, which can worsen when the air is dry or cold
- Occupational asthma, which may occur as a result of irritants in the workplace, such as chemicals, fumes, gases, or dust
- Allergy-induced asthma, which is triggered by substances that can cause allergic reactions, such as pollen, dust, mold spores, particles of skin, and pet dander
Does Vaping Affect Asthma?
We all know that smoking cigarettes is bad for your lungs, but what about vaping. In an attempt to curb their nicotine addiction and reduce their risk of lung disease, cigarette smokers turned to vaping. But studies show that this isn’t any safer, both for your lungs or your asthma.
While studies on vaping and asthma are scarce, enough is known to suggest that there is some sort of connection between the two. To better understand this connection, let’s look into how vaping works.
E-cigarettes are usually powered by batteries to heat a solution that contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals in cartridges. These cartridges are heated up to produce a vapor that’s inhaled rather than smoke. E-cigarettes are considered less harmful than cigarettes because they don’t contain all the same harmful chemicals.
However, vaping is a fairly new practice that’s yet to be researched. As vaping grows more popular, more research is suggesting that the practice can irritate the airways and cause difficulties breathing, which can trigger asthma attacks and symptoms.
So yes, vaping is bad for asthma.
Can You Get Asthma From Vaping?
Not only is vaping bad for asthma, but vaping can cause asthma. One study conducted by the University of California found that vaping increased the risk of chronic lung disease, including asthma. Specifically, e-cigarettes users had about a 30% higher chance of developing chronic lung disease than non-smokers, while tobacco smokers had a whopping 160% higher chance of developing chronic lung disease.1
Vaping effects on asthma may include increased chest tightness, mucus secretion, reduced lung function, and more.
Molly, on the other hand, refers to the crystalline powder form of MDMA, which is usually sold as a powder or in capsules that are taken orally. Like ecstasy, Molly has been known to contain other drugs aside from MDMA, including methylone, a synthetic stimulant commonly found in a drug called bath salts.
Moreover, vaping can cause asthma for several reasons, including:
- Chemicals in vaping cartridges – such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine – have been linked to increased cough, mucus secretion, chest tightness and pain, and reduced lung function, all of which can trigger or worsen asthma symptoms.
- Chemicals in vapors can irritate the lung’s airways, increasing the likelihood of an asthma attack.
- Research has found that flavorings such as Banana Pudding and Black Licorice cause airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness, which can trigger asthma attacks.2
- Another study on over 19,000 smokers found that more than half of them (59.8%) experienced side effects like dry/sore mouth and throat, which can worsen or trigger asthma symptoms.3
- Vaping may cause pneumonia-causing bacteria to stick to cells that line the airways, increasing the person’s risk of asthma attacks and lung disease.
What About Second-hand Vaping and Asthma?
Can second-hand vaping cause asthma? While more research needs to be conducted, it’s safe to say that developing asthma from inhaling second-hand smoke is possible.
One 2019 study found that teenagers with asthma who were exposed to second-hand vape smoke had a 33% higher chance of having an asthma attack compared to those who weren’t exposed.4
Additional Risks of Vaping
In addition to an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory diseases, the long-term effects of vaping also include lung disease. Although many consider vaping to be safer than smoking cigarettes, this isn’t the case. There are numerous chemicals in these cartridges, all of which can cause serious harm to the airways and lungs.
Vape cartridges also contain nicotine, which you may recognize as the addictive chemical in tobacco products. As a result, long-term vapers may find it difficult to quit and may even turn to cigarettes for a more intense “nicotine buzz.” Vaping and other semi-additive substances are also often gateway drugs that open the doorway to more dangerous forms of substance abuse.
Get Help Today
If this sounds like you, then this is your sign to get help. Not only can a medically monitored detox help cleanse your system of any lingering drugs or alcohol, but our addiction help center also offers a multitude of substance-specific treatment programs that focus on individual substance use disorders and their causes.
Not only is vaping with asthma dangerous, but this habit can quickly escalate to other, more serious forms of substance abuse. If you find yourself struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, don’t wait to ask for help. Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 to find out more about our levels of substance abuse treatment and which one of our Banyan rehab locations is right for you.