From just 25 million users in 2015 to a staggering 41 million in 2018, the global market value of the vaping industry has now spiked to a whopping RM 80.452 billion, compared to just RM 28.76 billion five years prior.
With the growing amount of consumers and kaleidoscope of flavours available, it is highly unlikely that the vape industry will put its light out any time soon.
With the recent six deaths and hundreds of lung-related complications and hospitalisations related to vaping in the United States, the industry’s ambition to reach new heights may be stalled for now.
Health officials are calling for the public to refrain from using vape for fear of a new string of severe respiratory illnesses.
Here are three reasons why vaping may in fact increase your mortality rate faster than cigarettes:
Risk of immediate death
Mortality related to tobacco use is often associated with the accumulation of cigarette smoking years as well as the gradual increase of packs smoked over time.
Vape on the other hand, is able to produce negative health effects in a matter of months if not weeks.
According to multiple reports, all six people who died from this new form of severe respiratory illness, and the majority of those hospitalised, have had short and relatively recent history of vape use.
Lung damage associated with vape use is abrupt and drastic to the point that the most recent patient hospitalised for vaping, 18 year old Adam Hergenreder, was told that his lungs showed irreversible signs of damage, consistent with the lungs of a 70-year-old!
The uncertainty of chemical contents
Trying to guess the contents of any vape juice, from any given brand is as good as shooting in the dark. Sure, you’d probably nail a few, but it is almost impossible to know for certain what the rest are.
This is because no two vape flavours are the same, and all of them differ across manufacturers. To make matters worse, vapers have the liberty to concoct premixed flavours with existing juices in their stash.
This encourages interaction between various chemicals, producing potentially dangerous by-products in the process. A good example is the formation of acetal from the interaction between propylene glycol (PG) and aldehyde-based flavourants.
Acetal is a compound known to cause irritation to the receptors in the airway but since most manufacturers aren’t aware of this, basic yet responsible warnings are left out of packaging labels.
On top of that, the novelty and nascency of vape means that it’s still too early for researchers to predict long-term detrimental health effects that it could introduce.
Younger vapers, earlier complications
Unlike vape products, cigarette purchases in Malaysia are restricted to those aged 18 and above. Without any age regulations, there have even been reports of vape users as young as eight years old!
These young nicotine addicts are not only exposed to the side effects and complications related to nicotine dependency, but also the health effects of various undetermined chemicals in different vape juices.
According to the United States’ Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average age of patients suffering from vape-related lung complications in the recent wave is 19 years old, that’s barely two decades into life!
Vaping just isn’t worth it
While the definitive cause for vape-related lung complications and respiratory illnesses is still uncertain, researchers are working painstakingly to identify the compounds responsible for such drastic effects.
The research process may take time to yield conclusive results, but health officials are taking no chances and are urging the public to kick the vaping habit.
As for those who have transitioned from smoking cigarettes to vaping, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your choices and quit while you’re ahead – let not the smoke cloud your better judgement.
The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.