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How vapes impact young people and air quality

You may have noticed an increase in e-cigarette sales in recent years as the product gains popularity in the UK. There’s always a chance you’ll see a cloud of vapour with a distinctly sweet perfume, whether you’re at a park, a concert, or your neighbourhood bar. In fact, more Brits than ever are vaping, according to the findings of an annual poll from Action on Smoking and Health. 4.3 million persons, or 8.3% of all adults, now use these gadgets. 

We are all aware that smoking may have a negative impact on the air, and in the UK, smoking in public and at work was legally outlawed in 2007 for this precise reason. The question of whether vapes have the same impact is less widely known. To learn more, researchers have been analysing data. 

One such study looked at the indoor air quality at a vaping convention in Maryland, where there may be up to 600 guests inside at once. The amount of particulate matter was far higher than expected, with a 24-hour time-weighted average of 1800?g/m3, 12 times the US Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon dioxide, and nicotine concentrations also increased. 

It doesn’t require a lot of concentration, but it depends, right? according to Ana Mara Rule, an assistant professor in the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s department of environmental health and engineering. The concentrations are undoubtedly higher if there are 50 vapers in the same space. For instance, we were concerned that students in middle and high schools were vaping in the restrooms. Not just for children who are vaping, but also for people who come in just to use the restroom, they were developing into these rooms with really poor ventilation. 

The nicotine, says Ms. Rule, was what I thought was most troubling. The levels of nicotine were comparable to those found in smoke and cigar bars. You definitely don’t want to be exposed to nicotine at such a young age because it is neurotoxic. 

Rule’s worries coincide with statistics by NHS Digital that shows secondary school students are increasingly using e-cigarettes, with 9% of 11 to 15-year-olds smoking them daily or occasionally in 2021. This has increased since 2018, when only 6% of students reported vaping. Just 12% of people in this age bracket report ever smoking, down from 16% in 2018, making it the lowest number ever seen. 

The vapes’ alluring colours and diverse flavours are also to blame for this. Since you may choose from cotton candy, grape, and even peanut butter flavour devices, entering an e-cigarette retailer is hardly distinguishable from entering a candy store. While it is against the law to sell e-cigarettes to people under the age of 18 in the UK, many manage to sneak around ID checks or obtain illegal goods. Rule thinks that newer vapes, which produce thinner aerosols and less aroma, also make it simpler for teenagers to conceal and smuggle them inside. 

The way vapes are presented has to be better regulated, according to Jon Foster, Policy Manager at the charity Asthma + Lung UK, to stop more kids from purchasing them: “The surge in teenage vaping is disturbing, and we want to see action to stop these items from being marketed in ways that appeal to kids, especially on social media. We would prefer to see cartoon characters or pictures that appeal to young people outlawed and do not see any rationale for their usage, as suggested by the recent Khan Review of Tobacco Legislation. No one under the age of 18 should be able to purchase these things, so it is obvious that enforcement of the age of sale is also a problem. 

What we do know is that all of these substances in the air are bad for you. According to US-based Ms Rule, there is not enough information about the health effects of these gadgets to make firm claims. Even in low quantities, some of them, like the metals, should not be ingested. In order to better understand how e-cigarettes affect the immune system, Rule is presently working on a review study. This is because some of the components have been demonstrated to have an immunological impact. This could imply, for instance, that vaping COVID patients may experience worse symptoms and a worse prognosis.

Ref: https://airqualitynews.com/2022/12/02/the-e-cigarette-debate-how-vapes-affect-air-quality-and-young-people/

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