May 31st is World No Tobacco Day.  7 out of 10 smokers say they want to quit. Quitting tobacco, including chewing tobacco, is one of the best things you can do for your health. Smoking in particular harms nearly every organ in your body, and nearly one-third of deaths from heart disease are the result of smoking and secondhand smoke.

Some smokers have switched to e-cigarettes to ease the transition to a smoke-free life.  E-cigarettes are devices that vaporize a nicotine-based liquid which is then inhaled, much like a cigarette.  Is the e-cigarette a better alternative to smoking tobacco?  Here are some important facts about e-cigarettes, often referred to as vaping.

Vaping is less harmful than smoking. Cigarettes have about 7,000 chemicals added, making them highly addictive and toxic.  Researchers at Johns Hopkins University Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease don’t know exactly how many toxins are in e-cigarettes, but there is little doubt that there are fewer chemical in an e-cigarette than a cigarette.

Vaping is bad for your health.  E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance. Not only addictive, nicotine raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, which increases your chance of having a heart attack.

E-cigarettes are not an effective smoking cessation tool.  Because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, it is nearly impossible to stop smoking by vaping.  The foundation of an established tobacco habit is the addiction to nicotine. A recent study found that most people who intended to use e-cigarettes to kick the nicotine habit ended up continuing to smoke both traditional and e-cigarettes.

Young vapers may be harming their brain development. The National Institute on Drug Abuse conducted a nationwide sampling of high school students.  In 2018, 37.3 percent of 12th graders in the sample reported “any vaping” in the previous year.

Adolescent brain development continues until about age 25. Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain. Youth are uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposure to nicotine, including mood disorders, permanent reduction of impulse control, and damage to parts of the brain that control attention and learning.

If you are struggling with nicotine addiction, visit the Department of Health and Human Service’s tobacco free website.

Andrea wants to live in a world where the neighborhoods are walkable, bike lanes are plentiful, and the food is fresh, delicious and readily available. A 20-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, she started her career in the fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and then on to the burgeoning field of worksite wellness. Andrea has competed in collegiate level soccer, worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach, and master trainer, climbed 14ers, and completed cycling centuries and metric centuries. All of these experiences give her the opportunity to view well-being from many different perspectives. When she’s not helping others to be their healthiest self, you can find her at a farm to table restaurant, down dogging at the yoga studio, or experiencing the Colorado landscape on a bicycle, snowshoes, cross country skis or on foot.