Does Your Dentist Find Vaping An Improvement On Smoking? Probably Not
Does Your Dentist Find Vaping An Improvement On Smoking? Probably Not
Smoking. What a thing it is. Once so popular and revered that hospitals allowed patients to smoke in their beds. Visitors would deliver home cooked food, clean pyjamas and conversation all wrapped in brown paper and smoky halo of a sturdy gold pack of Benson & Hedges.
Smoking is the hill that many die on. Knowingly, not willingly. Most smokers will tell you they wished they’d never started. And it’s not that they have an issue giving it up at all; the problem they have is not starting it up again – that 10-15 times every day.
What makes it so hard to stop doing such a damaging thing, that you chose to do once?
Addiction, obviously – and even ex-heroin users will tell you that as difficult as it is to successfully rehabilitate and how many years or decades they’ve been clean, nicotine is harder.
Increased tolerance is a given, and withdrawal inevitable – and hardly enticing. The intake of nicotine causes very pleasant feelings. It acts on the brain chemistry and central nervous system, flooding those physiological reward circuits with delicious, delightful dopamine.
It also gives an adrenaline rush that’s indecipherable after the first packet or so. Although it doesn’t carry the same dizziness and body buzz those first tobacco experiences punched, it still raises the blood pressure and speeds up the heart rate.
It’s the extreme sport of sitting down.
Nicotine reaches the brain within seconds of lighting up, and its stimulative effects wear off almost as fast as they start. It’s a continuing cycle, and the dynamic of why people continue, how it becomes a habit and what makes it nigh impossible for many to give up.
Even with all that is known about its destructive nature.
Absolutely, smoking will eventually discolour teeth, and deprive gums of oxygen, as well as introducing a constant flow of toxins in and around every surface of the mouth.
Like the open smoking area of a busy airport with a steady influx of planes.
Nicotine is so addictive that after a while, it’s easier to give up the idea giving up and turning to a life of 2-minute noodles to support the lifestyle.
No matter how many aids and support lines there are, or insane price slugs that pack a punch to every pack and pouch, for nicotine addicts, tobacco sits high on the survival hierarchy.
In some cultures smoking is a ritual; in others it’s considered a medicine – pretty much the very two parts that smokers really like.
Thus the birth of vaping: intending to fill that criterion while delivering a less damaging product. So coyly referred to as Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS).
Electronic gadgets and the goo to forever fill them hit the market with the excitement of the LZ 129 Hindenburg; with much the same result in the end, really. It wasn’t the Hindenburg’s first journey you know. It had made 62 flights before.
Which is interestingly the same number as the average age at death of a heavy smoker.
Vaping has blown up in it’s own face, with studies finding it a much more insidious and damaging habit than the tobacco it was meant to replace: which is proving to have often not been there in the first place.
Since 2011, tobacco smoking in Australia has continued to decrease.
In 2019, electronic cigarette sales in Australia equalled $US125.14 million: an increase from 2018, and a continuance of year-on-year growth.
If tobacco is the smoke, vaping is the mirror.
Young people who had never smoked, took up perusing and purchasing tantalising tastes that left red, blue, gold or menthol gasping like the 1930s in the dust.
The requisite liquids are even marketed as ‘E-Juice’ – sounding like some kind of health-giving fuel, rather than the diabolical chemical mix that they are. They’re certainly not made of apple or bubble-gum or vanilla or cola or any other flavour they get to call them.
Already you’re appreciating the ‘adult’ flavours.
In 2022 the Australian Council on Smoking and Health completed the most comprehensive research to date on vaping, and it’s calling for governments to completely ban the promotion and sale of it.
It hasn’t done that to tobacco products yet. There’s the whole revenue thing of course – Australia most certainly gains federally in the fiscal sense from the annual $AU14 billion compulsory donation by nic-addicts with no political power or any need to rape, pillage and redevelop.
The study found that aside from almost instant addiction arising from its price, easy access and – unlike traditional tobacco products – ability to use it anywhere, there is conclusive evidence that e-cigarettes cause burns, injuries, poisoning and seizures.
Traditional tobacco products do those things too: but the poisoning and possibility of seizures are generally waaaaaaay down the track; not on the way to school.
According to the review, lead by researchers from the Australian National University Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, there is an immediate toxicity from vaping that is absent in cigarette smoking. Vaping causes less throat irritation and nausea than tobacco, and the trade-off for that is acute lung injury – likely because without throat soreness and queasiness, users are consuming much more of the vapourised liquid than they may otherwise be able.
Most notably the studied found no evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers quit.
The 430-page review proved that e-cigarettes are the gateway drug to the tobacco crop it was claimed to shut the gate on. It found that the devices, gadgetry and flavour choice is very appealing to those aged between 13 and 25; and of that group, males are more enticed than females.
Could be Freudian – there needs to be a study on that. In the realm of the vast stage that was the obsessive world of Sigmund, tap-dancing alongside each other were oral and genital fixations under the tutelage of top-hat-and-caned cocaine. Unlike a rollie or a tailor-made – in the parameters of Sigmundom, oral and genital fixations – e-devices are personal, solid, on hand, and don’t disintegrate every time you use them.
There’s gotta be something in that.
The research focused on whether or not both nicotine and non-nicotine vaping products result in substance dependence; and the probabilities of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, oral diseases, cancers, reproductive dysfunction, injury, poisoning, and mental health vulnerability.
If that’s not enough to want to mull over with some Riverstone, a couple of Tally-hos and a Zippo, the study also looked at the environmental hazards and human health implications of the manufacturing, distribution and disposal of the product.
No wonder it’s 430 pages long.
Despite the length, and depth of this most recent and complex research, the long-term impact vaping has on major health outcomes like cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental illness remains still unknown.
Basically because the guinea pigs will have to be under the microscope for a while yet.
Although it was designed in 2003 by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik as an alternative to conventional smoking, vaping didn’t stride around in its popularity pants until 2014.
So there’s been less than a decade of wide and persistent use by a primarily healthy, younger demographic. Weaned on anti-smoking education, incentive and indoctrination.
Still not quite ten years of use by those mythologising it as a useful aid for quitting tobacco.
Maybe it should be eulogised instead. In a traditional sense. With straight, brown-tipped cigarette pallbearers carrying an eco-cardboard coffin, a découpage of gangrene toes and manky teeth. An elegant rollie, constructing an extra-long, micro-filtered silhouette drives the final nail into the coffin carried by coffin nails, nailing the coughin’ that ENDS cause.
It’s not ‘just water vapour’ – vaping involves hundreds of chemicals, some of which are known to be toxic, and others with unknown effects. Vapour is wet and going into the lungs; tobacco smoke is at least dry. In Australia alone more than two million people use e-cigarettes and for the majority it’s not for them to stop smoking: vaping is an entirely new addition to a generation of users.
A generation prone to re-educate their dumb parents about the evils of the tobacco that they’re sucking on outside – from the vaping comfort of their ‘smokeless’ bedroom.
According to the science and supportive research, vaping is an improvement on smoking like ice is to cocaine – categorically cheaper, of indeterminate quality, available online, with literally 7,000 flavours to choose from.
Häagen-Dazs can never compete with that.
And unless your dentist and their extended family have shares in Juul, they unanimously agree that e-cigarettes are the Dumber of the Dumb And Dumber of smoking.
So much so, that academic research results were published in the February 2019 issue of the Journal of Dental Hygiene. It evidenced the potentially damaging effects of all Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) with its compiled data and trends. It defined and outlined patient education opportunities for dental hygienists.
The study reviewed samples from 85 different sources including Google Scholar, PubMed, MEDLINE, and the Smoking & Tobacco Abstracts & News Bulletin. They looked at popular medical journals and government documents published after 2010.
It was a process that allowed them to see wide and negative health trends as direct results of the introduction and popularity of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems.
Now that the mist is clearing, vaping is less about vapour than it is about fumes. And have you travelled via dirigible lately?
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