Smoking has fallen out of favor lately for a lot of good reasons. It's known to cause cancer and other health problems, make your breath and clothing smell pretty bad, and is banned from most public places in the United States. However, it's not the only nicotine product on the market these days.
Many people have taken up vaping — using a battery-powered vaporizer known as an e-cigarette or vape pen to create water vapor that is inhaled along with nicotine (and sometimes flavorings) — as an alternative to smoking.
E-cigarette companies are seeing brisk sales, and seem to be the latest addictive habit of choice for Americans. It's less offensive in public than cigarettes and has a "safer" image. While vaping is probably slightly less harmful than smoking, that's a pretty low bar.
You might think that even if vaping isn't much better for you than smoking, then at least it's got to be better for the people around you and your pets. Think again. Here's why it's a bad idea to vape around your pets—or at all.
Parents need to be on the lookout for teen vaping because chances are, it's happening at a school near you. Unfortunately, many teens have bought into the "cool" image of vaping. Fewer teens are smoking these days, but many have started vaping instead.
Vaping's rise as a cool trend may have to do with several factors: people think they're safer, they're less smelly in public, and they come in a range of types and flavors.
On top of that, aggressive e-cigarette marketing has created an appealing image that has had a major impact on sales. In 2015 alone, the e-cigarette brand JUUL spent over $1 million on ads to boost the image of vaping, and it worked. The e-cigarette business is booming.
One of the problems with vaping is that many of the possible health risks are still unclear. While we don't know exactly how many harmful chemicals go into an e-cigarette, the bottom line is that they are still dangerous nicotine delivery devices.
Nicotine is highly addictive and can have health consequences beyond the need to smoke or vape on a regular basis. This is especially true for adolescents, whose brains are still developing and can experience memory and attention problems with regular nicotine intake. E-cigarettes, which may seem safer than traditional cigarettes, can actually deliver more nicotine through extra-strength cartridges or adjustment of the device itself.
Finally, the vapor from an e-cigarette can contain any number of harmful chemicals and heavy metals. Since e-cigarette cartridges come in different flavors and seem friendlier than cigarettes, it's easy to think that they're safe to use. Unfortunately, the research just doesn't support this conclusion. Vaping isn't even the best way to quit smoking regular cigarettes since e-cigarettes involve the same behaviors and high levels of nicotine.
If the facts about vaping and your own health aren't enough to persuade you that e-cigarettes aren't safe, then think of your pets.
Water vapor from an e-cigarette might seem harmless to those around you, but in fact, you could be hurting your pets by vaping near them.
While it's still not clear if secondhand vapor could cause your pets harm, chewing on them definitely could. The liquid nicotine in a vape pen cartridge can cause vomiting, blood pressure and heart rate changes, and even seizures. Batteries in e-cigarettes can cause burns and other medical issues in pets.
When you have a hard day, your pets are a great source of comfort and support. They're so supportive that they can reduce stress, loneliness, anxiety, and other emotional issues that can take a toll on a person's quality of life.
With that in mind, it's important to return the favor. Support your pets' well-being by getting rid of your vaping paraphernalia and keeping your home nicotine-free.
Even if you keep your e-cigs away from your pets, accidents happen. So it's better for everyone if you just stop vaping altogether and leave nothing to chance.
When it comes to quitting smoking, there's decades of research and a range of products to help. Although vaping involves the same addictive chemical, there isn't much out there yet on how to quit e-cigarettes specifically.
Furthermore, it's less obvious when you've been vaping in comparison with smoking since the vapor doesn't produce a smoky smell. This can make external accountability efforts tough. It's easier to sneak a vape than a cigarette.
The best way to curb your vaping habit is to try smoking cessation programs and products like patches and gum. Enlist accountability help from friends and family and keep your reasons for quitting at the top of your mind: your health and the safety of your pets.