Although it seems less dangerous than traditional cigarettes, vaping or electronic cigarettes is not without danger. Indeed, the two most significant risks for young people who vape are nicotine addiction and the inhalation of chemicals, whose health effects are unknown to date.

Nicotine addiction and the effects on the brain

Nicotine causes the brain to develop an addiction. Thus, the nicotine in electronic cigarettes can affect an adolescent's brain development. When behavioural learning (such as managing stress, anger or boredom) has been built in the presence of nicotine, the brain, when faced with stress, will always need this nicotine because this "crutch accompanied the bridge formed during the learning process." This explains the high risk of developing an addiction in young people.

Consequently, it may be as difficult for a young person addicted to nicotine to stop vaping as it will be for a young person addicted to heroin to stop using. Nicotine can also impair memory and concentration, decrease impulse control and cause cognitive and behavioural problems. There is also evidence that some devices can release highly concentrated levels of nicotine, which can cause nausea and headaches.

Exposure to chemicals is risky

Although young people are well aware of the dangers of traditional cigarettes, they perceive vaping products as presenting little or no risk. The aerosol produced during vaping contains chemicals that are generally less harmful than those in tobacco smoke but are not without risk. Vaping liquids are composed mainly of ingredients such as propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, to which are added once heated fine particles such as toluene or ethylbenzene and heavy metals such as lead or chromium which are toxic and carcinogenic.

Health effects

To date, the effects of vaping products on the lungs are unknown. However, repeated use of a vaping product can irritate the throat and trachea. Vapers also have an increased incidence of flu, pneumonia and bronchitis.

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or optometrist, and they will be able to give you sound advice on how to stop vaping.