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Have we underestimated the risks of electronic cigarettes ?

© Ganesh Harikant/Pexels

We are starting to have some perspective on the potential effects of electronic cigarettes on the body. If it remains, in all cases, much less harmful than the classic cigarette due to the absence of combustion, other effects peripherals caused by its use still need to be noted. Mainly a weakening of the immune system given the action of vaping on polynuclear neutrophils, a type of white blood cell.

This time, it’ ;#8217;is a new study published on March 26 and led by Jeannie Rodriguez, from the School of Nursing at Emory University (Atlanta, United States) which points the finger an effect that was not yet known. That of the impact of electronic cigarette vapors on children's health; and the results are rather worrying.

An innovative methodology

In order to arrive at these conclusions, the researchers adopted a rather unique methodology, combining blood tests, saliva analyzes and breath measurements. For children aged 4 to 12 living in environments where e-cigarettes are used, the consequences are concerning. Indeed, these children show quite high levels of metabolites in their bodies. Metabolites linked directly to the different chemical substances contained in vaping liquids.

Problems, the metabolites in question are far from being trivial and interfere with essential biological processesfor the proper functioning of the body. Particularly maintaining appropriate levels of a neurotransmitter, dopamine. The latter is crucial for regulating mood, the feeling of pleasure and the activation of the brain's reward system. It also appears that these same substances emitted during vaping could produce oxidative stress in younger people.

Oxidative stress is a phenomenon resulting from an imbalance between the production of free radicals (“ fragment obtained by splitting a molecule and which has an electron single, unpaired, which gives it great chemical reactivity » according to Futura Sciences) and the capacity of the body to eliminate them. It can cause fairly extensive cellular damage, associated with serious chronic diseasessuch as diabetes, certain types of cancer or cardiovascular pathologies.

In the long term, the exposure of young, developing organisms such as those of children to these substances could have really harmful consequences.

A necessary awareness among parents

Parents' reactions to the study results are just as worrying as the results themselves . Despite the irrefutable evidence provided by this research, a large majority of them tend to minimize, or even completely ignore, the potential dangers of passive vaping. There is therefore an obvious lack of awareness, which the dissemination of the results of the study was supposed to fill.

In focus groups formed after the results, more than half of the parents surveyed did not perceive passive vaping as a major source of concern. This reality demonstrates the urgency of the need to strengthen awareness and education actions around this subject. There is a real gap between the perception of risk and the real risk proven by science, calling for concerted action by all stakeholders affected by the problem. Public authorities, health professionals, educators, etc.

The ideal would be to develop programs health educationtargeted on this theme. The latter should aim to deconstruct erroneous beliefs concerning the safety and relative harmlessness of electronic cigarettes by highlighting the concrete evidence that we currently have on passive vaping.

The key is always the same: to raise awareness of a reality, however disturbing it may be, we must arm individuals with factual knowledge. Thus, it would perhaps be possible to encourage more responsible behavior around vaping, without however demonizing it. The results of the Emory University study are a real call in this direction.

  • A study led by Jeannie Rodriguez of the Emory University School of Nursing has shed light on a new danger regarding vaping.
  • Certain substances contained in electronic cigarette vapors cause oxidative stress in children aged 4 to 12, simply through passive vaping.
  • The study found also highlights a real gap between parents' perception of this danger and the irrefutable evidence provided by the study.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116