How a Person Vapes, Not Just What a Person Vapes, Could Also Play a Big Role in Vaping Harm

Risa Robinson

In the wake of six deaths and 380 cases of confirmed and probable lung disease across the U.S., the Trump administration has called for banning most flavored e-cigarettes because of their huge appeal to young people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking closely at the different flavored nicotine juices and other substances users may be vaping in e-cigarettes to determine how the aerosol might be affecting users’ lungs.

On Sept. 12, 2019, the CDC lowered the number of confirmed and probable cases from more than 400 to 380. The number was lower, the agency said, because it is no longer reporting “possible cases.”

The mystery and concern remain. And, many smokers who use these devices to quit are concerned that a valuable tool may be taken away from them.

There’s much more that researchers need to know. These devices have a short history. As an engineer who studies how people use tobacco products, I believe that users’ behavior is key to understanding the positive and negative health effects resulting from e-cigarettes. After all, their intent was to help people stop smoking, the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S.

The way users puff, how long they puff and what they puff all play a role. We do not yet know how this behavior affects how much of each substance vapers consume over the course of their daily lives, but we have reason to believe it is significant.

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