Vaping Gets a Special Honor Despite Health Concerns

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

Despite intense debate about the safety of e-cigarettes, there was little argument about the term “vape” being named the 2014 word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.

Beating out contenders like “bae” and “normcore,” the term vape is designed to be separate from smoking a nicotine cigarette. The word can be used to either reference an e-cigarette device or breathing in the vapors of one. Casper Grathwohl, president of the Dictionaries Division at Oxford University Press, said the word “served as an insightful window onto how we define ourselves.”

The Great Vape Debate

Electronic cigarettes have not been approved by any government as an anti-smoking tool, but some believe it’s safer than tobacco and could even lessen the risks associated with tobacco use.

Recent studies have found that e-cigarette vapor contains harmful byproducts that could cause asthma, cancer or heart disease. A study published last August in the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology even found that the amount of exhaled nitric oxide in e-cigarettes is identical to that of a regular cigarette.

Recent studies have found that e-cigarette vapor contains harmful byproducts that could cause asthma, cancer or heart disease.

Researchers also noted in an August report published to the New England Journal of Medicine that e-cigarettes could even serve as a gateway drug for adolescents. Using lab mice for their experiment, neuroscientist Eric Kandel and his wife, Dr. Denise Kandel, found that e-cigarettes prime the brain to use far more dangerous substances such as cocaine and marijuana.

Questions Still Unanswered

Despite the potential dangers of e-cigarettes, there is almost no federal oversight of the business or industry.

The Food and Drug Administration stepped up its research and is now in the process of creating federal regulations for electronic cigarettes. They proposed a set of rules last April that would include requiring e-cigarette manufacturers to register with the FDA and also reveal the ingredients in their product. A federal minimum age of 18 to purchase e-cigarettes would also be set.

Some international cities are even resorting to more drastic measures to stamp out vaping. Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown, announced last August that he will push to ban e-cigarette use in any location where cigarettes are also currently banned. Several other Ontario cities have already placed their own bans in place, while the Toronto Transit Commission is considering banning e-cigarette use on its properties by the end of the year.

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