Nothing makes me cringe harder than someone flashing their extensive collection of vaping equipment. From that ‘cool and awesome’ neon mouthpiece for you to wrap your acne-ridden lips around to the £200 shell to house the addictive liquid. Why brag about it. That’s like me posting a picture of my toilet roll just because it isn’t ALDI’s own brand. Next time I see one of my “friends” (note the quotation around that, I very well may be removing a few following this) share a proud picture of their “beautiful babies” with a smitten pride smeared across their faces, I will not hesitate to tell them to inhale it through the place the sun forgets to shine upon. Stop embarrassing yourselves.
Anyway, the topic of discussion today is the phenomenon of ‘vaping’, this alternate to ‘legitimate’ smoking that seems to offer a contradictory purpose for many. Wherein electronic cigarettes where introduced to wean people from within the iron first of ‘real’ cigarettes, millions don’t see it as that way. There are so many ‘subcultures’ surrounding e-cigs. There are the minority that actually see it as an aid to quit smoking, these are the good people. Then there is a large group that I call the ‘show-offs’, the ones that turn up at school or the office with an e-cig larger than their forearm with as many chambers as a revolver. Like the additional intake of vapour will somehow benefit them more so than a single chamber, or like it makes them look cooler. Finally there are the few that still smoke real cigarettes, yet smoke an e-cig indoors to get around the ‘no smoking inside’ rule. I hate these people.
Despite these silly subcultures (in the general sense), a larger debate offers its place upon us. Is vaping safe?
To answer this, we have to establish what ‘safe’ is, situationally. To me, safe in this instance is a safer alternative to the other option which is of course legitimate cigarettes. In this case, they are indeed safer, but not safe.
Allow me to explain; wherein electronic cigarettes may not give you cancer (as of current research), they have been attributed to a lot of other painful and unhelpful ailments. The most notorious and widely documented of such is of hearing impairments. In fact, it holds such high notoriety that many celebrities have been attributing electronic cigarettes with hearing loss. Included in this is Rob Swire of Pendulum/ Knife Party and Zedd (rumoured)
In a Tweet posted by Swire, he says, “Hearing restored, finally. PSA: if you enjoy being able to hear, e-cigs / vaping is a fucking bad idea” in regards to his earlier mentioning of deafness in one ear. I replied with an agreement, mentioning that I was in a similar situation a few months ago. I described it as a “complete deafness and high pitch noises giving sharp pain”, to which he swiftly replied with, “Yes – exactly the same as me.” Thankfully, his hearing has been restored after “quitting vaping” and following professional advice.
This issue isn’t isolated with the greats of music, though. It has stricken many thousands of ‘vapers’ in what cannot be deemed a coincidence. However, pro-vaping advocates stress that it is nothing but that. Yeah, sure, and the fact that I got a sprained ankle after falling over was a coincidence, too! You see, the dilemma at hand has such strong debate for one sole reason; research is minute. In fact, there is more research on the psychology of Spongebob Squarepants as of current than there is on the health effects vaping has on the individual. Clearly this needs to change.
Sadly, I speak from experience. I vaped for about a year before quitting due to full deafness in my left ear. ‘coincidentally’, once i stopped, my deafness disappeared. Hmm.
I would love nothing more than two things to happen. Firstly, anyone who acts proud of their e-cig/ feels the need to show it off everywhere they begrudgingly drag their feeble bodies around needs to disappear. Stop it. Please. Go.
Secondly, there needs to be a serious approach to the research surrounding the negative effects of e-cigs. Sure, it may not necessarily give you cancer, but who knows what will happen to you in 30+ years. It is a true social concern that needs the serious attention it deserves. The health of millions is at risk, so why delay research. Focus specifically on Propylene Glycol as this is most likely to be the cause.
If you are a reputable university that boasts a strong audiology department, Rob Swire is willing to fully fund research into electronic cigarettes and can be contacted via Twitter. Let’s shine a light on this cringe-stick once and for all, four our eardrum’s sake and for our sanities sake.
Image courtesy of www.thecommentator.com
For a detailed infographic on E-Cigs, visit http://www.accelerated-nursing.net/e-cigs/
-Benjamin John Wareing