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25 Things Vaping Does To Your Body

Put your pens down and listen up—the dangers are real.

You can't drive by a strip mall without seeing a vape shop—they're everywhere, and spreading faster than a zombie apocalypse. They might be just as dangerous.

Vaping—meaning to the use of electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes), e-hookahs, vape pens, tank systems, mods, and electronic nicotine delivery systems—first debuted in 2003, and were marketed as a less-harmful alternative to smoking. A decade-and-a-half later, we are learning that isn't the case.

The CDC reports vaping is responsible for a mysterious lung disease, with the number of reported infections—and even deaths—increasing by the week. It's more important than ever to learn about the potential health risks. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke to several of the nation's top physicians and analyzed data from government agencies to discover 25 things vaping does to your body.


It Can Age You

Portrait of young and mature woman

Akin to regular smoking, vaping can age you 10 years or more. "Vaping can age your skin similar to cigarettes," board-certified dermatologist Nazanin Saedi, MD, explains. "We know that people who smoke age prematurely, especially their skin." How does this happen? She explains that nicotine lowers the oxygen supply, and also increases the breakdown of collagen. "People who smoke or vape also form lines around their mouths—smokers lines—from the breakdown of collagen," she points out.


It Can Increase Your Chance of Lung Disease

Doctor explaining lungs x-ray on computer screen to patient

On October 10th, the CDC revealed that 1,299 lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products have been reported from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory. Of those, 26 deaths have been confirmed in 21 states. While it is still unclear of the specific chemical exposure(s) causing these lung injuries associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping, all patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.

"When asked by patients if e-cigarettes are safe long-term, I do not answer that they're safe but I say, 'there is no clear-cut long-term data for it,' but again, 'absence of proof is not always the proof of absence,'" Interventional Cardiologist & Endovascular Specialist Anuj Shah MD, Founder, Apex Heart and Vascular Care, tells Eat This, Not That! Health.

RELATED: 30 Things Oncologists Do to Prevent Cancer


It Can Raise Your Blood Pressure

female physician checking male patients blood pressure at clinic

If your vaping involves nicotine, expect your blood pressure to increase, warns Steven Reisman, MD, New York Cardiac Diagnostic Center. An increase of blood pressure can have a serious impact on your cardiovascular health, increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or heart disease.


It Increases Your Chance of a Heart Attack

Man with hypertension heart

One study from the American College of Cardiology found that e-cigarette users were 56 percent more likely to have a heart attack than non-users. "Cardiologists are most concerned about acute nicotine toxicity," explains Dr. Shah. "It raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and could potentially increase the likelihood of having a heart attack."


It Increases Your Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases

Female doctor analyzing ECG electrocardiogram of patient in hospital

As per an article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, acute exposure to flavored e-liquids or e-cigarette use exacerbates endothelial dysfunction, a type of non-obstructive coronary artery disease where large blood vessels on the heart's surface constrict (narrow) instead of dilating (opening). According to Dr. Shah, it often precedes cardiovascular diseases.


It Increases Your Risk of Stroke

Female middle aged doctor discussing with her senior stroke patient ct-scan images of her brain

According to the American College of Cardiology study, e-cigarette users were 30 percent more likely to have a stroke than non-users. "This could either be related to atherosclerosis (new plaque formation) or vascular inflammation (making the plaque more vulnerable for rupture) or related to spasm of cerebral arteries," explains Dr. Shah.


It Increases Your Chances of Circulatory Problems and Blood Clots

blood clot

According to the same American College of Cardiology study, your circulatory system is seriously impacted by vaping. They found that those using e-cigarettes were 44 percent more likely to suffer from clots or circulatory problems.

RELATED: 40 Things Cardiologists Do to Protect Their Hearts


It Can Negatively Impact Your Mental Health

Sad and lonely woman feeling depressed

Vapers are twice as likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and other emotional problems, according to the American College of Cardiology.


It Can Ruin Your Teeth

toothache woman treatment

E-cigarettes are no safer for your teeth than tobacco. "The heat from vaping as well as the ingredients of some vaping products dries the mouth, which substantially contributes to cavities and gum disease," explains Kenneth Magid, DDS, FICD. A study done in 2018 showed a higher level of bacteria in the mouth with vaping, especially when sweet products are used, which have a similar effect as sugar and candy.


It Can Cause Inflammation of the Mouth and Throat

woman experiencing strong throat ache

"Vaping causes inflammation of the mouth and throat which may lead to other health problems," says Dr. Magid. These can include everything from periodontal diseases to bone death, cellular death, and bad breath.


It Might Even Contribute to Oral Cancer

Doctor checking woman throat with the medical stick

"E-cigarettes containing nicotine may be a causative agent in oral cancer, but the evidence is not conclusive at this time," Dr. Magid reveals.


It Can Increase Cough, Risk of Bronchitis or Other Respiratory Illnesses

woman makes inhalation nebulizer at home

Vaping is terrible for your respiratory system, explains Andrew Stiehm, MD, pulmonologist with the Allina Health United Lung and Sleep Clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota. "Aerosolized substances can irritate the lungs," he explains. There are many things present in the aerosolized contents of an e-cigarette that can irritate the lungs. "We have seen an increase in coughs, bronchitis and respiratory illnesses reported in people who use e-cigarettes—and that includes both mild cases and the life-threatening illnesses that are becoming all too common lately."


It Can Irritate Your Mouth and Nose

frustrated confused tired scared displeased lady covering mouth with palms do not want to eat salad sitting at table looking at bowl

Vaping or inhaling aerosolized agents not only irritates the mouth and nasal cavity, but has been known to increase nose bleeds, cause mouth sores, dry mouth, and even loss of taste, Dr. Stiehm points out.


Vaping Can Put More Nicotine Into the Bloodstream Than Smoking Cigarettes

female vaping e-cigarette

Among experienced vapers, the amount of nicotine in the blood rivals the amount they would get from smoking a cigarette, says Dr. Stiehm. "Nicotine is highly addictive and is well known to be associated with a lot of negative health consequences including mood disturbances, slowing brain development, strokes and heart attacks," he says.


It Can Increase Your Cancer Risk

Doctor telling to patient woman the results of her medical tests

What the long term risk of vaping products will be is unclear, there is every reason to believe it will increase cancer risk in the future. "There are cancer-causing substances in e-cigarette liquid," Dr. Stiehm points out. While aerosolized contents of packaged vaping products do not contain some of the cancer-causing agents that are noted in cigarettes, they do contain a number of other known toxins.


It Can Damage a Developing Brain

looking at laptop feeling headache tired of study learning overwork

According to the Surgeon General, nicotine — whether it is smoked, vaped, or chewed — can seriously damage a developing brain. An individual's brain continues developing until they are 25, there are more likely to be long-lasting effect than with an adult user. These can include nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and permanent lowering of impulse control. Nicotine also alters the formation of synapses, which can be damaging to the parts of the brain that control attention and learning.


It Can Lead to Addiction

girl smoking an electronic cigarette in the bar. Bad

Nicotine, no matter how you absorb it, is addictive. That means vaping is just as addictive as smoking a cigarette. While this is the case for both adults and youth, those whose brains are developing are most at risk. According to the Surgeon General, the nicotine in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products can also prime the adolescent brain for addiction to other drugs such as cocaine.


It Can the Risk of Burns

Woman suffering from hand pain

Dr. Stiehm also brings up the important fact that the e-cigarette itself can be a health risk. "E-cigarettes have both exploded and also caused burns to consumers, increasing the risk of burns to the face, hands and the groin and thigh from the pocket where the e-cigarette is stored," he says.


It Can Impede the Skin's Healing Process

heat burn wound on her hand.

Like other environmental pollutants, vaping wreaks havoc on your skin, in more ways than one. According to Dr. Denise Pate, MD with Medical Offices of Manhattan, nicotine impedes blood flow, which slows wound healing.


It Can Harm Those Around You

woman smoking cigarette near people

According to the Surgeon General, secondhand e-cigarette emissions are a huge concern — and they can harm those around you. They concluded that secondhand emissions contain, "nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead."


It Won't Help You Quit Smoking

cigarette in man hand with smoke

While many e-cigarette companies claim they can help you quit smoking, according to the American Heart Association this likely isn't the case. In fact, they point to research that has found that people who vape are more likely to "dual use," which means they will continue smoking and vaping.

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It May Negatively Impact Fertility

Patient couple consulting with doctor

According to one study conducted by the Endocrine Society, e-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes. In their mouse study, researchers found that smoking e-cigarettes prior to conception delayed implantation of a fertilized embryo to the uterus, thus delaying and reducing fertility.


It Can Harm Unborn Babies

pregnant woman crying at doctor's office

Just like smoking cigarettes, vaping can be hazardous to your unborn child's health. According to the CDC, despite the fact that the aerosol of e-cigarettes generally has fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes, as well as all other nicotine products, are not safe to use during pregnancy. "Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby's brain and lungs," reads their section on "E-Cigarettes and Pregnancy." Additionally, some of the flavorings used in e-cigarettes may be harmful to a developing baby.


It Can Irritate Your Eyes


The formaldehyde found in many vaping liquids is a known eye irritant. "While burning sensations and watering of the eyes is a common side effect of vapor, optometrists also strongly caution against using any sort of hot, high-pressure device near your face," explains Dr. Denise Pate, MD with Medical Offices of Manhattan.


It Can Kill You

woman with white lily flowers and coffin at funeral in church

As mentioned before, at least 26 people in the United States have lost their lives because of their decision to vape. This number could be much higher, considering the likelihood that other people didn't report a history of vaping to their physicians. While more research clearly needs to be done regarding the potential health impact of vaping, the CDC strongly urges that you consider refraining from using e-cigarette, or vaping, products. For resources that can help you quit the use of vape products, visit the CDC's website here. And living your best healthy life can be simple with these 50 Secrets to Live to 100.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah