Flavored e-cigarettes are now banned in New York after Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed the plan last Sunday, according to The Associated Press. However, the growing health concerns caused by smoking e-cigarettes and other vaping devices aren’t just affecting this state. California has already seen 36 cases of e-cigarette related illnesses, according to the California Health Alert Network (CAHAN) in an alert they issued last month, and two of those cases have resulted in death.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 530 known cases of lung injury in those who habitually smoke e-cigarettes or similar devices. These cases spread across 38 states, and many who are affected deal with breathing complications.
Smoking devices contain a liquid made of nicotine, THC and CBD oils and other additives, according to the CDC in “Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, Or Vaping.”
CAHAN calls the complications “Vaping-associated Pulmonary Injury.” The CDC says some symptoms include: cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There has been an increase in the number of cases since the CDC released the first health advisory on Aug. 6, but even with the potential health risks at the forefront of the media, numbers are still growing.
PLNU Associate Professor of Psychology Max Butterfield said one reason people are continuing to smoke e-cigarettes is addiction. He said the lungs are great drug absorbers because, when inhaled, the nicotine peaks around 10 minutes, making people need another hit to keep the high.
“When you’re 17, or 14 or 12, you don’t understand the implications of what you’re going to do to the same extent that an adult might,” Butterfield said. Teenagers and young adults are influenced by the media and the vape culture surrounding them.
But adults are also choosing to smoke various vape devices, even if it’s not to quit smoking real, chemical-filled cigarettes. Butterfield explains how e-cigarettes are fast acting and don’t have a lot of negative side effects.
“It [nicotine] lowers your appetite, makes you feel a little euphoric, but it isn’t anything crazy like a harder drug,” Butterfield said. “A lot of people who are struggling in their lives with boredom, just not having a satisfying experience — I think it’s pretty appealing.”
The CDC wrote in the health advisory, “To date, no single substance or e-cigarette product has been consistently associated with illness.” They are working with state health departments to investigate, but until the exact cause of illness is found, the CDC recommends avoiding the use of e-cigarette products.