E‑Cigs and Your Sexual Health: Questions are Still in the Mist, So Play it Safe

By Sophie Dila

Do you remember when people used to smoke cigarettes in bars and restaurants? Whoa, that’s a throwback! Lot’s has changed since then.  The public has been educated and informed loud and clear about the negative and addictive qualities of cigarettes, and the extreme harms and dangers of smoking. But as the old adage goes, out with the old and in with the new, and the new player in town is electronic cigarettes.

Here’s a little update that will hopefully help you make informed and healthy decisions.

First off, just to be clear, there are tons of electronic vapor products out there.  We’ve got e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, vape pipes, vaping pens, e-hookahs, and hookah pens, oh my! E-vapor products are used to inhale a substance that is then exhaled as a vapor aerosol. The substances that go along with e-vapor products can include nicotine, or flavorings without nicotine, or even liquid THC, that mind-altering chemical compound found in marijuana.  For now, we’re just focusing on electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular both with long-time and new smokers. But there are still so many unknowns about e-cigs, especially when it comes to the long-term health effects and impacts on women and fetuses during pregnancy.  Early in 2018, , a major national  was released that looks at the most comprehensive evidence to date of the public health consequences of e-cigarettes. The findings start to get at one of the biggest questions we’ve got up front: how good or bad are e-cigarettes, really?

So here’s the low-down from this research. The general consensus is that vaping e-cigs isn’t as bad for you as smoking regular cigarettes, but let’s be clear: smoking cigarettes is still one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., responsible for about 1 in 5 deaths each year. E-cigarettes have less toxicants and carcinogens than regular cigarettes, but e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, the addictive chemical found in both types of cigarettes. For adults who are current cigarette smokers, there is some indication that vaping e-cigs might help them quit by serving as a replacement to regular cigarettes, but the jury is still out on the strength of evidence there. There is strong evidence, however, that youth who vape e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke tobacco cigarettes later, and  vaping is skyrocketing among young people.

Ultimately, there are a whole lot of unknowns about the health impacts of vaping e-cigarettes, especially in terms of pregnancy, using the pill, cancer risk, and cardiovascular risk. So birth control pill users and pregnant mamas out there, to be on the safe side (and because we care), steer clear of e-cigarettes to play it safe for you and your baby.

Ready to quit and need a little assist? Contact the Colorado Quit Line or check out Tobacco Free CO for help and more information.