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Vaping: The New Face of Nicotine Addiction

September 2019

The healthiest choice you can make for your body is to never start smoking or vaping.

A vape is a battery-operated device that mimics smoking using a process that vaporizes liquid, hence the term “vaping.” Vaping is legal but is restricted to people over the age of 18 in Manitoba (Lung Association, Manitoba 2019a).

A vape can also be called an e-cigarette, vape pen, mod, tank, e-hookah, or other names. They can be different shapes and sizes and can have different power and temperature settings.

The vaping liquid, which is referred to as e-liquid or e-juice, contains propylene glycol, glycerin, flavours, and nicotine. Glycerol and propylene glycol are considered safe for some consumer products, but the long-term effects of inhaling these substances is unknown. The process of heating this e-liquid also creates new harmful substances, such as formaldehyde and metals. Most vaping liquids contain nicotine, and the amount varies (Health Canada, 2019). Nicotine salt liquids are delivered in a more efficient e-liquid and they have a more efficient delivery system.  They only come in extremely high nicotine strengths.  E-liquids with this “SaltNic” formula have extremely high levels of nicotine.  One millilitre of this type of e-liquid can have as much nicotine as three packs of cigarettes (Lung Association, Manitoba 2019b). 

E-liquid that contains nicotine can be highly toxic if it comes in contact with the skin and mouth. Ensure that e-liquids are stored in a safe place, away from children and pets.

If you do not smoke, do not begin vaping.  Nicotine is highly addictive.  Vaping can increase your exposure to harmful chemicals, it can cause lung damage and breathing problems, or may cause injury if the device malfunctions.  Although there are some vape liquids that do not contain nicotine, most do. Vaping with nicotine can increase the risk of becoming addicted to it, and it may increase the risk of transitioning to smoking cigarettes.  Youth are especially sensitive to the effects of nicotine and may become addicted much easier.  Nicotine can affect memory and concentration and alter teen brain development (Health Canada, 2019).

Vaping was intended to be used as a harm-reduction or cessation aid for cigarette smokers who want to quit. It was never intended to be used by non-smokers or people who have already quit smoking (Lung Association, Manitoba 2019a). If you currently smoke or vape, there are many proven options available to help you quit. For more information on quitting smoking or vaping, talk to your health-care provider, visit smokershelpline.ca, or call-1-877-513-5333 to speak to a quit coach. Smokers Helpline is a free, non-judgmental and confidential resource for those wanting to quit (Lung Association, Manitoba 2019a).  Or contact the Lung Association, Manitoba at 204-774-5501 to discuss vaping as a harm-reduction strategy or to find out how to wean off your vape.

There is also a Peer support group—Manitoba Quits—on the Lung Association, Manitoba website at mb.lung.ca.

For people in the LGBTQ2+ community help is available at the lastdrag.ca

Source of information: (Lung Association, Manitoba 2019a) “Youth and Vaping” (Lung Association, Manitoba 2019b) “What Parents Need to Know About Vaping”. For more information on vaping visit: Health Canada references refer to this link.

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