What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling vaporized substances, typically nicotine-infused e-liquids, using electronic cigarettes or vape pens. While some argue that it can be a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking, it still poses serious risks. Vaping liquids often contain addictive nicotine, leading to potential dependence and health issues. Additionally, the long-term effects of inhaling the chemicals present in e-liquids are largely unknown. However, some potential positives include its potential role in smoking cessation and the absence of harmful tar and combustion by-products. Nevertheless, caution must be exercised due to the negative impact on respiratory health and the risk of attracting non-smokers, especially the youth, to this addictive habit.
Health & Vaping
This answer is based on what we know from gathering research from a number of organisations. The truth is, we cannot say for sure what is in vapes. What we do know is that despite not containing tobacco, many e-liquids still contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance, along with other potentially harmful chemicals:
- Formaldehyde and acrolein, which can cause irreversible lung damage
- Propylene glycol, which is toxic to human cells
- Nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm the still-developing adolescent brain, particularly in areas that control attention, learning, mood and behavioural control.
These additives are often used to create appealing fruit, alcohol, or confectionary flavors. A groundbreaking study, sponsored by Lung Foundation Australia, Minderoo Foundation, and the Scottish Masonic Charitable Foundation WA, conducted at Curtin University, thoroughly examined 52 flavored e-liquids available over-the-counter in Australia. The findings revealed a concerning cocktail of chemicals, raising serious doubts about the safety of these products, especially concerning the respiratory health of young individuals.
Many people’s immediate response to this is to state that it is better than traditional smoking. Where this may be true, it does not mean that vaping is risk free. Some negative effects include:
- Nicotine addiction
- Intentional and unintentional poisoning
- Acute nicotine toxicity causing seizures
- Burns and injuries
- Lung injury
Vapes & The Environment
Yes. Specifically, but not exclusively, single-use / disposable vapes. Single-use vapes are detrimental to the environment due to several reasons. They contribute to litter and plastic waste, becoming an eyesore in public spaces and potentially lasting in the environment for years. They also pose a fire risk, especially when improperly discarded in general waste. The production of these devices involves the use of resources and energy, further adding to their environmental footpri
The rise in vaping indicates a more daunting environmental challenge on the horizon. According to Clean Up Australia, e-cigarettes seem to pose a greater environmental risk than traditional cigarette butts. They represent a threefold environmental hazard: contributing to plastic waste, electronic waste, and hazardous waste.
The ecological footprint of vapes extends beyond just their batteries. These devices also incorporate plastics, which can take up to 1000 years to break down. Typically, a disposable vape lasts a day for most users, which, when compared to rechargeable batteries that can last between six months to a year, is significantly more detrimental to the environment.
Vape pens, whether single-use or not, should never be discarded in household waste or recycling bins. Instead, they should be taken to a local electronic recycling center for proper disposal. Improperly discarded vapes not only harm the environment but also contribute to an increasing number of fires at waste disposal centers.