If you’ve opened your eyes at all in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed a new trend gaining some steam with the youth of America. I’m not talking about skinny jeans on guys or winter hats in the summer, but I am talking about something that is directly related to both of those perplexing fashion trends: e-cigarettes.
But besides the occasional e-cigarette turned hand grenade, are there other negative health effects linked to these vaporizers? To find some answers, I dove into current research articles about their health effects, and even did some research of my own back in 2014 on the effects of nicotine on zebrafish embryos.
The results of my study, in which e-cigarette concentrate fluid was compared to known levels of nicotine, were inconclusive. Which is to say that all the fish died and I had to bullshit a 15-page research paper on how they were killed by nicotine and not by my total incompetence.
However, these inconclusive findings joined hundreds of other studies that ultimately end with the researchers saying “I dunno.” It’s one of the many problems with scientific research, unless the effects are shown to be extremely significant or are at least supported by multiple peer-reviewed studies, it’s tough to come to any sort of conclusion.
With traditional tobacco, there has been decades of research done and the findings have been incredibly clear. Cigarette smoking is still the leading preventable cause of mortality in America, with over 400,000 deaths each year. We know that it causes cancer and heart disease, but these effects have only been linked with the chemical byproducts of tobacco smoke, and not nicotine itself. Not to say that nicotine exposure doesn’t have detrimental health implications, as it has been shown to be highly addictive and responsible for birth defects. But in full-grown, healthy adults there has been no link between nicotine and major health issues.
The main problem with attempting to determine the consequences of e-cigarette vapor on individual health is that there just hasn’t been enough time to figure out if there are actual long-term health implications. The most current and comprehensive research out there is the Cochrane Review, which shows that studies haven’t found any significant health effects for up to two years of e-cigarette use.
We do, however, know the short term negative effects of smoking e-cigs: you’ll look like a douchebag, you’ll walk around with an undeserved air of self-importance, and your band is most likely not gonna make it. But unless these things lead to you getting your ass kicked, which they very well might, there are no known effects on your health.
So keep vaping away, dickheads! And understand that while you may not be giving yourself cancer, you can rest easy knowing that you’re still a cancer to society.