5 Vaping Health Risks You Need to Know

Vaping has been embraced by high school teenagers and tobacco-jonesing grandparents alike as a healthier alternative to cigarette smoking. It’s much cleaner, safer, and, generally, better for you -- that’s the common perception, at least.

From respiratory infections to heart conditions, vaping may come with significant health costs that aren’t worth the tobacco buzz. Here’s what to know about the potential health risks of vaping, and how to use your Friday health plan if you think you or someone in your family might be suffering from vaping related health issues.

1) E-cigarettes are just as addictive as cigarettes

E-cigarettes and regular cigarettes both contain nicotine. The difference between the two? E-cigarettes cartridges can often contain more nicotine than tobacco products.

One of the main concerns of vaping for many health experts is the gateway effect. Research done by Johns Hopkins Medicine found two million young adults use e-cigarettes as their first nicotine-based product and are more likely to use other tobacco products.

2) Research suggests vaping can cause heart problems 

While most experts concede that vaping is better for you than smoking cigarettes, the research suggests that vaping, too, can cause damage to your heart.

Why? Because of nicotine, the main agent in cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Nicotine is a toxic substance that’s also highly addictive. It’s known to spike blood pressure, heart rate, and blood flow to the heart while narrowing blood vessels. When e-liquid aerosols are inhaled, these aerosols most likely affect the heart and circulatory system.

3) It can cause severe lung infections

Recent reports have linked vaping to respiratory infections, especially those involving the lungs. As of this month, according to the CDC, 2,578 cases of hospitalized electronic or vaping product-use associated lung injury (EVALI) and 64 deaths have been reported so far this year.

But doesn’t my vape pen remove the toxins and filter out all the carcinogens and other gross stuff you inhale with cigarette smoking?

Vaping likely exposes you to fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes, but experts believe the culprit of EVALI is likely a contaminant. According to the CDC, Vitamin E acetate is strongly linked to the EVALI outbreak. 

Data also suggests that THC-containing vape pens are linked to significantly more EVALI cases.

4) Vaping can harm brain development

Nearly one in five Americans between the age of 18-29 report they vaping regularly. What’s more alarming is that many more teens are starting to vape into high school, and some even start as early as middle school.

In a national survey, past month e-cigarette usage was looked at across grades eight through 12. The survey data showed vape use was 9.5 percent among 8th graders, 14 percent among 10th graders, and 16.2 percent among 12 graders. The survey also found, interestingly, that two times as many boys used e-cigarettes as girls.

One of the aspects that’s especially concerning about this trend to both doctors and parents is that e-cigarette nicotine can harm adolescent brain development, which continues until the early to mid-20s.

5) There’s more health risks that we don’t know yet

Most experts insist that the research is too early to garner many meaningful takeaways about the long-term implications of vaping. There is simply a lot that is unknown about vaping and its impact on human health over the course of a lifetime.

There are more theories, though. For example, there’s some evidence to suggest that vaping causes cell dysfunction, oxidative stress, and damage to DNA. The changes to these cells are still mostly unknown, but may be linked to health disorders.

Concerned you or your kid is coming down with a vaping-related illness? You can get help fast with your Friday health plan.

Friday Health Plans has a top-notch network of physicians, specialists, and hospitals you can look up with our handy provider search. If you’re concerned that you or your child might be sick with a vaping-related illness, you have a few great options with your plan.

Use a free doctor visit (you’ve got three of them per year)

As a Friday member, you get three free visits with your primary care doc. Schedule an appointment and visit your doctor to discuss your concerns about vaping, for free. (Not available on HSA plans.)

Visit an in-network urgent care

We have a strong network of conveniently located urgent care centers. Most plans have a $75 co-pay (flat fee) to visit the urgent care*. You can see the full list here and find the one that’s closest to you!

*Catastrophic and HSA plans must first meet the deductible, and then urgent care is $0.

Book a visit with a pulmonologist

With your Friday health plan, you do not need a referral to see a specialist. You can simply find a specialist using our provider search and book your appointment.

Do keep in mind, though, that specialist appointment costs vary plan by plan. Be sure to check your plan details on your member portal before booking an appointment. And make sure any tests, scans, or procedures are pre-approved by Friday; that way you’ll be covered!

If it’s a life-threatening emergency, then head to the closest emergency room STAT. 

Severe or life-threatening injuries or illnesses that require immediate attention or a specific level of care are emergencies. Friday covers you at any ER in a true emergency. This will be the costliest option, but if your life is in danger, you must get care immediately.

Tobacco cessation services come with every Friday health plan for free!

Trying to quit smoking? Awesome. You’ll be 100% covered for tobacco cessation medications as a member of Friday Health Plans. Looking for tobacco cessation services? Talk to your doctor about accessing care.

As always, if you have questions about your plan, benefits, or services, please reach out to our friendly Colorado-based customer service team at questions@fridayhealthplans.com.

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