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Vaping refers to inhaling a vapor created from electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or other vaping devices. E-cigarettes are battery-powered smoking devices. They have cartridges that are filled with liquid that usually contain nicotine, chemicals, and flavorings. The liquid is heated into a vapor to be inhaled, hence the name of the practice. One of the many chemicals that vape cartridges often contain is vegetable glycerin. Our drug rehabilitation center is sharing vaping vegetable glycerin side effects and dangers.
Also known as glycerol or glycerine, vegetable glycerin is a clear and odorless liquid most often made from soybean, coconut, or palm oils. It usually has a mild, sweet taste and comes in a syrup-like consistency. Specifically, vegetable glycerin is a sugar alcohol derived from various animal products, plants, or petroleum. It’s made by heating triglyceride-rich vegetable fats - like palm and soy coconut oils - under pressure or with a strong alkaline like lye. Vegetable glycerin is often used in the cosmetics, food, and pharmaceutical industries. For instance, it’s added to foods to help oil and water-based ingredients mix and blend. Glycerin is also a common ingredient in pharmaceutical drugs, such as heart medications, cough suppressants, and anesthetics.
Although vegetable glycerin has various benefits, including moisturizing skin and reducing constipation, these benefits are dependent on the form of administration. In other words, people who use beauty products or medications that contain vegetable glycerin may reap the benefits because they’ve used it a particular way. However, vaping vegetable glycerin is a whole different story.
So, is vegetable glycerin safe to vape? Nope! But, ironically enough, it’s one of the most common base fluids used in e-cigarettes or vape pens. It’s also often mixed with another base called propylene glycol. Most e-liquids are made with a combination of flavorings, nicotine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and a base fluid such as vegetable glycerin. The liquid used in vape pen cartridges may also contain other harmful chemicals, including 2,3-Pentanedione, acetoin, cinnamaldehyde, diacetyl, and vanillin. Although these are all common flavorings that are safe to ingest in food and drinks, they can cause irreversible lung damage when inhaled.
Vape pen cartridges often contain nicotine, which is an addictive chemical that’s also found in tobacco products, such as cigarettes. Nicotine is known to contribute to lung problems and other life-threatening side effects, such as cancer. Moreover, the practice of vaping often opens the door to other forms of substance abuse that may present additional health risks. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, Banyan Treatment Centers offers different levels of substance abuse treatment and therapy levels that can help.
Researchers have recently found that vegetable glycerin can lead to inflammation of the lungs due to long-term vaping or e-cigarette use. One study on the dangers of vaping glycerin ran for four weeks, during which 34 were randomized to using flavor- and nicotine-free e-cigs or to a control group of no-use. At the end of the study, researchers discovered that the side effects of inhaling vegetable glycerin included inflammation in the lungs. The study also found that those who smoked e-cigarettes twice a day for a month contained higher levels of chemicals like propylene glycol in their blood.1
Research on the effects of vaping is limited, but this habit isn’t necessarily a healthy one. In addition to vegetable glycerin e-liquid side effects, vape users also have to keep in mind that cartridges usually contain other chemicals and flavorings, including nicotine, that are not meant to be inhaled. Although vaping is most common among high school and college students, the practice is becoming more popular among older age groups.
Don’t fall into the fad of vaping. If you aren’t a smoker, don’t start. If you’re currently struggling with substance abuse, help is available. Call us today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our Banyan drug treatment.