Health Effects of Tobacco

The risks of vaping

What is vaping?

Vaping is becoming a popular alternative to smoking and it is heavily marketed to young people.

Users puff on a vaping device (like a vape pen), which super-heats a liquid into a flavoured mist. Many people think vaping is harmless because users don’t inhale smoke, but vape mist can contain very addictive nicotine as well as other harmful chemicals.

What are the health risks from vaping?

There are many studies in the works right now to better understand how vaping affects the lungs and the overall

health of users. Right now, the long-term health risks from vaping are not well known because vaping is so new.

Health officials do know that the aerosolized vapour (the mist from a vaping pen) contains dozens of chemicals, such as formaldehydes, that can be harmful to users. Contaminants like tin, aluminium and nickel can also get into the vaping products that users inhale.

Some scientists believe people who vape regularly can develop ‘popcorn lung’ from a chemical called diacetyl, used to give flavour to the mist. Popcorn lung is a type of bronchitis that causes damage to the small airways in the lungs.

How does vaping compare to smoking?

Vaping products have less chemicals than cigarettes, but inhaling nicotine mist is still highly addictive, especially to young people.

Vaping can lead children and teenagers to start smoking

It’s a fact that children and teenagers don’t need as much nicotine as adults to become addicted to it. Since vape companies target their products to young people, vaping can lead teenagers and young adults to develop a nicotine addiction. Regular nicotine exposure can weaken a young person’s memory and ability to concentrate. It can also reduce impulse control for teenagers and even alter their brain development.

Studies show that young people who vape regularly are more likely to start smoking than young people who don’t vape.

How can I quit?

Remember, there are places to turn for help in the Northwest Territories.

It’s never too late to quit!

If you are a young person who wants to stop vaping, talk to an adult that you trust or visit your local health centre to make an appointment to speak with a healthcare professional. You can also call the NWT Quitline at 1-866-286-5099 for a private, confidential conversation with a trained counsellor. The line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

While vaping is considered less harmful than cigarettes for regular smokers, health professionals recommend Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products like nicotine patches, gums, lozenges and inhalers for people who want to beat their cigarette habit.