Vape pens, or vaporizers, came on the market in the US in 2007 when e-cigarettes were first introduced. Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik created the first electronic smoking device when trying to kick a heavy tobacco smoking habit, and created a way to vaporize nicotine liquid using a high-frequency ultrasonic vibration that looked similar to a cigarette.
What is a vape pen?
A vape pen is a handheld device made with a battery attached to a cartridge that’s filled with different concentrates. The vaporizing action is caused by a tiny heater in the cartridge.
A vape pen can be used as a cigarette alternative to still give you the “smoking” sensation but without the tar and cigarette filter. Vape pens are deemed by users “more convenient” because of the lack of smoke produced and the convenience of being able to carry it around in pockets, purses, cars, and luggage.
What are vape pens used for?
Vaporizers can be used for tobacco products, THC, CBD, and marijuana products.
What are the health risks of vape pens?
Back in 2019, the media covered a multitude of stories about the health risks of vape pens like the growing number of hospitalizations related to the smoking tool.
Components of vape pens are flavors, sweeteners, and solvents. Solvents in vape pens are mostly made from vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, which produces the cloud of smoke users see when using it, and is normally odorless and colorless. These ingredients are, so far, considered as “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration, however that’s only when these ingredients are consumed as food, not when it’s inhaled by the body.
Some studies have shown that breathing in these ingredients regularly, specifically, propylene glycol can contribute to asthma, and may contribute to exogenous lipoid pneumonia.
According to a study in the Journal of Chemical Research in Toxicology, they found that sucralose breaks down and forms cancer-causing compounds when heated to e-cigarette temperatures. However, when some flavors are heated they can become quite toxic, according to Tobacco Control.
Not only could flavors cause a much higher health risk, but a Johns Hopkins study released in 2018 found that metals can leach into the vaping aerosol at dangerous levels. “Our findings indicate that e-cigarettes are a potential source of exposure to toxic metals (chromium, nickel and lead), and to metals that are toxic when inhaled (manganese and zinc).”
Just as recent as March 2022, John Hopkins researchers found that vaping could spike the blood sugar of diabetes sufferers.
Other health risks can include: Oral health issues like gum infections, lung problems like pneumonia, and negative effects on the cardiovascular system like increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, and effects on the circulatory system.