So-called “wellness” vapes pose a health risk

Although some brands call themselves a “mist,” “personal diffuser,” or “aromatherapy stick,” make no mistake, these products are actually a type of vaping device.

So-called “wellness” vapes marketed by the tobacco industry to youth and young adults claim to include ingredients such as vitamins, essential oils, and melatonin to promote sleep and relaxation. The truth is these vaping devices are not federally regulated, so it is unclear what ingredients they really contain.

Inhaling the chemicals contained in any type of vaping device, whether they contain nicotine or are nicotine-free, can damage lung tissue. When vaping, the user can inhale harmful metal particles and chemicals. Vaping also makes it harder to breathe and fight off respiratory viruses, such as COVID-19.

According to a study by the Stanford School of Medicine, young people who vape are 5 to 7 times more likely to become infected with COVID-19. Other health risks of vaping may include increased depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular problems, such as increased blood pressure and heart attack.

Users of vapes containing nicotine may be fooled into thinking their vape is providing anxiety relief or feelings of calmness, when the anxiety is actually triggered by a nicotine addiction.

When people start experiencing nicotine withdrawals, they may begin to experience mood swings, depression, anxiety, irritability, flu-like symptoms, sleep disturbances or even constipation. A person may feel less anxious after vaping nicotine, but this means they may be stuck in an addiction cycle. Some people may misinterpret the easing of symptoms due to the vitamins from the vape instead of realizing they are just satisfying their nicotine addiction.

Some brands of vapes that claim to promote health and wellness say their products are nicotine-free and safer, but more research is needed to prove these statements are true. If people are looking for ways to increase their vitamin intake, humans have a beautifully designed digestive system whose purpose is to break down and absorb vitamins and nutrients from a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Parents/guardians can find more information about vaping, including tips on talking to teens, from these reputable sources:

Ready to Quit?

For adults:

If you or someone you know is ready to quit vaping and/or using tobacco products, free and confidential help is available by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) or visiting www.projectfilter.org.

Under 18:

You can enroll in the My Life My Quit Program by texting “Start My Quit” to 36072 or by visiting https://id.mylifemyquit.org/index. My Life My Quit is a free and confidential way to quit smoking or vaping. 

Health care professionals:

Providers can refer individuals to the program by fax or online, both available on the Quitline website or by helping individuals call the Quitline in-person.

If you or someone you know vapes and experiences symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, fatigue, fever, or weight loss, seek medical care immediately.

Lindsey DeBoer is the vaping coordinator in the Division of Public Health with the Department of Health and Welfare. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.

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