It all starts with a TikTok video from the American Abbey (18). After a few years of vaping, her lungs would be in even worse shape than those of an 85-year-old, according to her pulmonologist.
The video went viral in no time: “I never thought a doctor would tell me that the chance of me dying is greater than the chance of me living. And that my lungs are worse than those of 85 year olds, all because of vaping over the past 2-3 years.”
By sharing her story on TikTok, she wants to raise awareness about the consequences of vaping. “Stop while you still can,” she urges viewers. The many reactions show the ignorance of many people and young people.
Lack of knowledge
This is an isolated special case, responds pulmonologist Wand de Kanter: “It is very difficult to draw conclusions from this. This can create awareness, but can also be counterproductive. Dutch viewers can see it as a far-away show. Especially because we do not yet see these types of serious incidents in the Netherlands.” Pulmonologists warn about the consequences of vaping, with young people often ingesting large amounts of nicotine.
De Kanter says that the vaping trend in the Netherlands started later. “E-cigarettes have been popular in America for some time. They therefore see more complaints in the long term. A few years ago it was already in the news that 2000 young people had been admitted to the lung department.
Their lungs were mainly affected by substances such as cannabis and vitamin E, which people add to refillable vapes. This may also be the case with Abbey, but we don't know. The biggest risk at the moment is the lack of knowledge about e-cigarettes.”
Many young people do not realize how much nicotine they are ingesting because they use their vape several times during the day. Users also start using it very young. The tobacco industry is committed to making young people addicted. As of January 1, 2024, it is therefore prohibited to sell e-cigarette liquids with all kinds of flavors in the Netherlands.
Many young people find smoking disgusting, but do not vape because of all the flavors. In this way, the Dutch government hopes that many young users will drop out or new users will start vaping. De Kanter advocates an excise tax on vapes and that this should only be offered to people who want to quit smoking.
Fear of long-term effects
More and more is coming research to the effects of vaping. In America, scientists even claim that vaping can cause sad thoughts, anxiety and panic disorders.” More and more negative health effects are coming to light. Vaping could lead to DNA damage. You can also ingest particulate matter when inhaling.
Turkish research also shows this week that vaping in men can lead to lower sperm count, lower libido and shrunken balls. “This is one of the small-scale studies that already looks at longer-term consequences,” says de Kanter. According to her, it remains unclear to what extent vaping actually affects male and female hormones. She also fears irreparable damage to young developing brains and the potential risk of lung cancer, asthma and COPD and perhaps even cancer in other areas of the body.