Vaping is the same as what some call e-cigarettes. Vaping is an electronic device that heats liquid to make a smoke-like vapor and often contains nicotine. Nicotine is the ingredient that is found in regular cigarettes and is one of the ingredients that makes vaping and smoking regular cigarettes so addictive and harmful to your health (American Academy of Family Physician, 2019).
So why do so many people choose vaping over regular cigarettes…..?
Two main reasons:
- Smokers believe vaping is safer.
- E-cigarettes (vaping) does not smell like smoke.
Are e-cigarettes/vaping safe?
It is now known that heavy marijuana smokers also may develop lung disease just as smokers of tobacco because marijuana smoke has many of the same harmful chemicals and over a long period of time, it increases the risks of developing COPD and at the very least smoking marijuana can make breathing worse especially for those who have existing lung problems (Anonymous, 2017). Marijuana smoke may also increase your risk of lung infections and lung cancer as marijuana smoke contains many (450) cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens) that are similar to tobacco smoke (Anonymous, 2017).
How to know if marijuana is affecting your lungs
- Increased mucus or phlegm
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of the throat
However, with stopping, these symptoms have a chance of going away.
Many states have prescribed medical marijuana for health reasons however it has not been approved by the FDA for any known medical conditions. The FDA, however, has approved medications containing THC, an active ingredient found in marijuana, for treating pain and nausea (Anonymous, 2017).
Am I addicted to smoking?
The most telling sign of addiction is when a person still smokes even though they know that it is bad for them, they begin to see the negative effects it is having on their emotional and physical health and personal life and still does not stop (ACS, 2019).
Healthy lungs are required to live a healthy life. Your lungs were made to inhale oxygen (air); and only air, to live a vibrant healthy life. When carcinogens are inhaled, through vaping or smoking cigarettes and marijuana, the lungs become polluted. Eventually, oxygen does not travel properly to your blood as the lungs begin to become diseased making it harder to breathe resulting in conditions such as COPD, emphysema, asthma, lung cancer and/or heart disease.
Be your own advocate, gain as much as knowledge as you can to make sure you are making the best decisions for your health. As we know, many things have been hyped up for the public to use as harmless or for the betterment of a certain condition. Just to later find out that the risks were no way near better than the rewards (Anonymous, 2017).
Take care of your body when you are young, and it will take care of you when you’re old. – Grammy
Smoking Cessation and Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy specializes in smoking cessation (stopping) and emotional and behavioral issues that have contributed to beginning and continuing to smoke. Many times, people start smoking for one reason but continue for many years for another reason (addiction). Reasons, why people may have started smoking, may be due to social isolation, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, peer pressure, low self-esteem, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and stress. Occupational therapy holistically addresses behaviors, feelings and thought processes that contribute to a reduction in health, wellness and life satisfaction and develop a plan to increase quality of life for the individual who wishes to stop smoking (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2014).
For more information, please contact Life Wellness at Christa@OTWellness.com.
American Occupational Therapy Association. (2014). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (3rd ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, S1–S48. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2014.682006
Anonymous (2017). Smoking marijuana and the lungs. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 195(3).
American Academy of Family Physician. (2019). e-Cigarettes, vaping, and juuls: What you need to know. Retrieved from www.aafp.org/afp.
American Cancer Society. (2019). Why people start smoking and why it’s hard to stop. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/tobacco-and-cancer/why-people-start-using-tobacco.html
FDA. (2019). FDA and cannabis: Research and drug approval process. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-and-cannabis-research-and-drug-approval-process