Tobacco, Vaping and Health
Although there has been progress in reducing cigarette use, vaping use has dramatically increased. In Colorado, almost 27% of high school students vape, the highest user rate for youth in the nation. In Larimer County, the rate is slightly higher at 32% (Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2017 High School). In Fall 2018, 30% of incoming CSU students reported using e-cigarettes before arriving on campus (AlcoholEdu Fall 2018 pre intervention survey).
Health Impacts of Vaping
Most are familiar with the harmful health impacts from cigarette smoking and how it negatively influences nearly every body organ and causes many diseases, but some may be less familiar with the health effects of vaping. Here are some key points about vaping as it relates to health. For more information please visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html
Effects of Nicotine Use
Most vaping products contain nicotine. Nicotine is known to be highly addictive and negatively affects the developing brain of youth and young adults more than older adults. Use can prime the brain for use of other addictive substances, reduced impulse control, mood disorders, and deficits in attention and cognition.
Some vaping products contain high levels of nicotine. For example, JUUL devices contain as much nicotine in a single cartridge as in an entire pack of cigarettes.
Exposure to secondhand smoke from burning tobacco products causes disease and premature death among nonsmokers. There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke, and even brief exposure can cause immediate harm.
Secondhand exposure also includes exposure to vaping aerosol/smoke. It can contain potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents.
Vaping as a Quit Smoking Aid
Vaping is not currently approved by the FDA as a quit smoking aid. A recent study showed many adults are using vaping in an attempt to quit smoking; however, they do not stop smoking cigarettes and instead continue to use both products.
Emerging Lung Disease Associated with Vaping
An emerging lung disease associated with vaping has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of October 2, 2019 there are currently 805 cases and 12 deaths. The exact cause is currently unknown, and the CDC recommends refraining from vaping at this time. For up to date information please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
Stress-relief and Tobacco Use
Some people use tobacco when they feel stressed, as a way to cope. It is important to know that this isn’t a long-term stress reliever, and there are major health implications from using tobacco. Nicotine addiction causes stress, and nicotine cravings feel stressful because the body starts going through withdrawal without it. It takes time to use tobacco and quitting or reducing use can be a way to save money. Most quitting resources will support in exploring other healthier ways to manage stress. The CSU Health Network offers students both tobacco cessation coaching and workshops to learn manage stress skills. Quitting resources are also available for CSU employees and Talent Development often offer stress management, mindfulness and well-being-related workshops.