What is vaping?
When e-cigarettes first hit the market in late 2000, they were believed to be a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes, but now there is evidence to the contrary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have counted close to 3000 cases of the new vaping related lung disease known as EVALI (e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury). In statistics gathered by 29 US states, the agency has recorded 68 deaths. And then there’s the potential for the habit to aggravate the symptoms of Covid-19, potentially leading to severe cases and increasing the risk of death from the new coronavirus.
Vaping is also addictive. Vaping with a JUUL can be as dangerous as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. When you vape, you inhale liquid (or e-juice) from a cartridge attached to the vaping device. In addition to nicotine, that liquid can contain dozens of other chemical ingredients and flavourings.
Kids and teenagers have been especially attracted to vaping, thanks in part to attractive flavours like bubble gum, mango, and mint. Vape use in high school students rose by 900 per cent between 2011 and 2015, according to the US Surgeon General. In Australia between 2016 and 2019, the number of current e-cigarette users aged 15-24 increased by approximately 72,000 (95.7% increase) for a total of approximately 147,000.
Quitting vaping can be difficult, just like trying to stop smoking. And while quitting can be hard on the body, you’ll mostly start to benefit as soon as you make the decision to kick the habit.
20 minutes later: Cardiovascular improvements
In as little as 20 minutes, “your heart rate returns to normal, your blood pressure drops, and your circulation starts to normalise,” says Dr Nikola Djordjevic, of Med Alert Help.
Your breathing may improve, too: The two key ingredients in an e-cigarette – propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine – produce chemicals when heated that are detrimental to your respiratory tract, according to research published in 2018 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. “When you quit vaping, you should find that your breathing becomes less laboured and your airflow is clearer,” says Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert.
A few hours later: Nicotine withdrawals
Nicotine is addictive, and you may experience some minor and temporary symptoms. “Acute nicotine withdrawal symptoms can be psychological and physical,” says Dr Djordjevic. The psychological symptoms can include cravings for nicotine, mood swings, trouble concentrating, irritability and anxiety, he says. Physical symptoms include “headaches, sweating, tremors, insomnia, increased appetite, abdominal cramps and constipation,” Dr Djordjevic says.
These are the first effects you’re likely to feel, often within four to 24 hours after quitting. These effects will peak around day three, Dr Djordjevic says, “and gradually decrease during the following three to four weeks. So it will take around a month to break the habit.”