Ask the Expert: Vaping

Is vaping a safe smoking alternative? No! Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are commonly advertised as a “healthier” and cheaper alternative to cigarette smoking. However, smoking e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, is not an approved method for smoking cessation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Inhaling a vaporized liquid solution rather than smoke from burning tobacco may sound safer, but it is important to remember e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and the amount can vary widely among brands. The FDA found that even some e-cigarette cartridges that claimed to be nicotine-free contained varying amounts of nicotine, as well as known carcinogens such as diethylene glycol (an ingredient found in anti-freeze) and nitrosamines. Also, the long-term effects of vaping and secondhand vapor inhalation are unknown.

Additionally, there is concern that e-cigarette usage will reverse the progress made in teenage smoking prevention and may normalize smoking behaviors.

Virtually anyone can sell or buy e-cigarettes. Convenience stores, gas stations and grocery stores offer the most popular brands. And, unlike traditional tobacco products, there are no restrictions on Internet sales, which makes it relatively easy for young people to make online purchases.

Without scientific data establishing the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes, there is no basis for recommending them as an alternative to cigarette smoking. Talk to your doctor about how to stop smoking. If you have teenagers, talk to them about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping.

Get Screened
Are you a longtime smoker age 55 to 80?

You may meet the criteria for lung cancer screening.

Yearly low-dose CT scans are effective at finding lung abnormalities and detecting cancers early. To find out if you are a candidate, call AAMC’s Lung Screening Program at 443-481-5838.

Listen to a Living Well with Cancer interview with Dr. Cattaneo and learn more about lung cancer screenings.
Cattaneo 1_fmtBy Stephen Cattaneo, MD, medical director of thoracic oncology at Anne Arundel Medical Center. To reach him, call 443-481-5838.

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