Are vape pens as safe as the average consumer believes?

Published Feb 20, 2019 02:07 p.m. ET

Vape pens, and vaping, in general, has become a widespread phenomenon that has become more prevalent in 2018 than ever before. This trend doesn’t appear to be winding down either with many folks believing a vape pen is nothing more than water vapor. Leading thousands of teens to pick up a vape pen and use it while not being fully aware of the consequences of doing so.

Components of a vape pen

When a person vapes, they will utilize all three functional parts of a vape pen. The atomizer is what heats the juice or liquid using power from the battery until the device produces a vapor that is then inhaled by the user. Components of a vape pen include:

  • The liquid cartridge that is filled with juice will often contain flavors and nicotine.
  • A powerful rechargeable battery.
  • The atomizer which is the heating element.

Adverse health effects of vaping E-juice

Are vape pens bad for your lungs? While the jury is still out on the exact negative long-term effects that should be expected from everyday exposure to vapor from a vape pen. It is only because vaping is so new that there is very little evidence to prove or disprove possible side effects from vaping. What we can do is focus on the things we do know.

What we do know

  1. Potentially harmful chemicals such as irritants, animal carcinogens, and genotoxicity have been found in many of the most common e-cigarettes and juices on the market.

  2. There is evidence that shows applying higher levels of heat to e-juice will convert the propylene or glycerin used in the juices to either acetaldehyde or formaldehyde which are both known cancer-causing carcinogens.

  3. The ingredients glycol or diethylene both found in antifreeze were also found in the majority of e-juices, after random tests across the country. These chemicals can both be dangerous when consumed by humans and are rarely ever listed as an ingredient since e-juice is not as strictly governed on labeling like food is.

  4. Not FDA regulated. This is because they are not identified as tools for therapeutic use like e-cigarettes. Without regulation, there is no safety oversight when it comes to the manufacturing of vape pens or e-liquid.

  5. Many e-juices including those labeled otherwise contain at least some level of nicotine which is addictive.

Safety risks to be aware of

Most people are aware of the debate on the safety of the ingredients used in the making of e-juice for vape pens, but what most people don’t think of is the safety of the device itself. As mentioned before, unlike e-cigarettes vape pens are not regulated by the FDA meaning way more poorly designed vaping devices are hitting the market every single day. The most significant risk is due to the battery contained within a vape pen. Vaping requires the coils in the atomizer to heat to an extremely high temperature to produce vapor. The batteries needed to produce enough electricity to do this are powerful and explosive. Here is just one story where a vape pen explodes in a man’s mouth leaving him scarred with third-degree burns up both sides of his face and almost no teeth. All his teeth were instantly shattered and destroyed in the explosion leaving him with only his molars and several regrets.

After a vape pen exploded in a man’s mouth most would agree that vape pens are not a very safe device and shouldn’t be in the hands of adults nevermind minors. Unfortunately, teen vaping is a new trend that likely won’t die down anytime soon. The most effective avenue to take to ensure overall safety will come from Canadian citizens pushing for valuable oversight including verifiable studies into the long-term effects of vaping, as well as the production of safe designed pens. In the meantime, user’s will be vaping at their own risk.

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