Vaping: Dr Sara discusses risk of 'popcorn lung'
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It is thought around four million Britons are now regular users of e-cigarettes, with roughly 350,000 of them saying they were not previously smokers. Although it was initially believed they could be a safe alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, emerging evidence suggests vaping comes with its own health issues. There are five problems specifically that can be the result of vaping, an expert has said.
Rajive Patel, medical writer at digital health service Now Patient, spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to explain more.
“The number of people using e-cigarettes in the UK is growing rapidly and worryingly, we are now seeing teenagers and young adults vaping on a daily basis,” he said.
“The use of e-cigarettes can have serious complications on your health, including an increased risk of heart disease, asthma and organ damage to name a few, so it’s important people are aware of these dangers.”
He listed the five dangers vaping has on your health.
“E-cigarettes contain nicotine and other various chemicals which can cause a range of complications to your organs and as well as damaging your lungs, the substances within the liquid can also cause health dangers to your heart and brain, which can have serious complications in later life,” he said.
He explained: “Many people who use e-cigarettes are enticed by the range of flavours available to choose from but in a number of those flavourings, diacetyl can be found.
“This chemical can increase the risk of a person developing bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung), which can cause lasting scarring on the lungs.”
Mr Patel said: “E-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury or EVALI for short is a serious lung condition caused by vaping and can have significant complications on a person’s health and has been known to cause death.
“Symptoms of EVALI include shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, fast heartbeat and more, so it’s worth keeping these symptoms in mind if you vape.”
“A number of studies have revealed that using an e-cigarette can damage blood vessels just as much as smoking normal cigarettes,” he commented.
“Blood vessels play a big part in keeping your heart healthy and when they’re damaged, in this case by vaping, it can increase the chances of an individual developing heart disease.”
He added: “A study carried out in 2021 revealed that those who use e-cigarettes are more likely to develop asthma compared to those who don’t.
“It has also been revealed that due to the implications associated with vaping, users who already have asthma will likely see the condition deteriorate.”
Ways to quit
Mr Patel recommended using exercise and mindfulness as ways to give up smoking and/or vaping.
“Traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is an addictive substance, meaning it can be extremely hard to stop the habit for many people, but there are steps you can take to try and reduce the amount you’re smoking each day,” he said.
“Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve your nicotine cravings as it keeps the body and mind active and focuses your attention elsewhere.
“This can also be said for any hobby you may be interested in, such as puzzles, painting or reading.
“The more occupied your mind is, the less likely you are to crave nicotine.”
“People often turn to cigarettes due to stress, so it’s important to try and find ways to relieve these worries, such as through mindfulness or even listening to a podcast.
“It’s important to try and focus your mind elsewhere on times of worry instead of opting for nicotine.”
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