Since its U.S. debut in 2007, e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular, especially among young people. E-cigarettes contain nicotine and have been linked to lung and cardiovascular diseases. But the latest research finds vaping could also increase your risk for cancer.
E-cigarettes or vaping devices go by many names, but these devices have increased in popularity among young people. One in 10 people under 18 vapes, and a quarter of those young people vape daily.
"The concentration, the amount of nicotine that you can find in a vape can be very high," said Dr. Humberto Choi with the Cleveland Clinic.
A new JAMA Network study found not only are new vapers starting at an earlier age, but the intensity of use grew between 2014 and 2021. Researchers found those who vape were more likely to use tobacco products within five minutes of waking up compared to traditional smokers.
Researchers found those who vape were more likely to use tobacco products within five minutes of waking up compared to traditional smokers.
"Something that we still don't know is whether someone can have a long-term effect of vaping and that's mainly, is someone going to develop cancer, for example, or a chronic lung disease or heart disease from that," Choi said.
The vape juice people are inhaling may contain cancer-causing chemicals and other substances linked to lung and heart disease. For oral cancer, the evidence is clearer because studies show it creates an unhealthy balance in the mouth.
"After exposure to e-cigarette vaping, that was independent of nicotine or nicotine content, a lot of the bacteria, the 'good' bacteria, die," said Claudia Andl, Ph.D. with the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Central Florida.
The good bacteria is what the body needs to fight cancer-causing invaders. Usually, when someone has a healthy immune system, it kills the bad bacteria. But research suggests vaping compromises that response.
Doctors say most people who vape don't realize how much of a nicotine punch an e-cig can pack.
"Sometimes, one small vaping device can contain as much or sometimes even more nicotine than a full pack of cigarettes," Choi said.
Teens are heavily exposed to vaping, especially in school.
Doctors recommend parents openly discuss the potential consequences of vaping with their children.