Vaping | E-Cigarettes

There is limited evidence surrounding the safety of ‘vaping’. Vaping devices, also commonly called e-cigarettes, are devices that heat liquid solutions to the point of vaporization. This vapour, which condenses into an aerosol, is then inhaled by the user through a mouthpiece, travels through the respiratory tract, and is absorbed into the bloodstream (as seen here).

While vaping is legal in B.C, the sale and consumption of vaping products is subject to legislation that regulates tobacco use (e.g. prohibits the sale of products to minors and smoking near doorways or air intakes).

Health effects

Research suggests that emissions from vaping devices could be harmful to the user as well as nearby non-users. The e-liquid and aerosol contain propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, as well as potentially harmful substances such as:

  • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • Diacetyl, a chemical found in flavourings, that can lead to “popcorn lung disease”
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, created during the process of vaping
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis
  • Vitamin E acetate, a filler ingredient in some THC vapes that has been linked to the outbreak of lung illness in the United States
  • Nicotine, an addictive substance

Although research results vary, e-cigarette use can result in the following:

Short-term cardiovascular health effects

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

Short-term respiratory health effects

  • Increased airway resistance
  • Decreased airway conductance

Long-term health effects

Research suggests that vaping increases the risk of developing chronic lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. This risk is even higher for those who use both e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes.

Research also shows that people who use vaping products may be at a higher risk of heart disease.  Using a vaping product just once was shown to increase people’s heart rates and cause their arteries to stiffen, and may cause damage to the lining of the arteries responsible for regulating inflammation and blood clotting.

Struggling with cravings? Try the 4 D’s! Drink Water, Deep Breathe, Distract, Do Something Else

Risks for children and youth

Young people are especially susceptible to nicotine addiction and to the effects of other chemicals found in vaping products. Vaping products can contain flavourings such as fruit or candy-based flavours, which are popular among children and youth and contain harmful chemicals. Nicotine is known to alter brain development and can affect memory and concentration. Young people are more susceptible to nicotine addiction and vaping can cause young people to start using tobacco and other drugs.

Click here for a resource on vaping for families, created by the BC Lung Association.

Vaping and smoking cessation

Vaping is not a proven method to help you quit smoking. Safe and proven methods for smoking cessation include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and quit smoking medications. While investigations into vaping products and related lung and other illnesses continue, Quittin’ Time strongly recommends that you consider refraining from using vaping products.

Support to quit vaping

Quittin’ Time offers support to quit vaping. Start the conversation by chatting or calling today!

You can find out more about vaping and e-cigarettes from the following resources:

Health Canada

British Columbia Lung Association

Canadian Cancer Society

Fraser Health

BC Centre for Disease Control