Since its inception, vaping has been controversial. Is it a harmless replacement for cigarettes that can improve chances of giving up smoking? Or instead is it a chemical-filled danger to our health that provides different risks?
According to recent news and research, the latter is starting to look more likely. A British factory worker has recently been named the first person in the world to die from direct consequences resulting from the use of e-cigarettes. Although his death was nine years ago, it has finally been confirmed that the oils from his vaping device were found in his lungs, causing him to develop a condition called lipoid pneumonia – a disease characterised by fat particles entering and staying in the lungs.[i]
Worryingly, this is not an isolated case. The same news source states that hundreds of people have now fallen ill from excessive vaping, and that further deaths are becoming more commonplace as the popularity of the smoking devices continue.
So, what does this mean for us as dental professionals? The fact is, we now have a concrete responsibility to warn against vaping as well as smoking, especially if our patients come to us for advice.
The effect of vaping on oral health has always been concerning – there are plenty of sources stating that vaping can increase the amount of bad oral bacteria, cause inflamed gums and even inhibit certain cell reproduction, all of which could possibly lead to oral health conditions such as periodontitis, as well as enhanced levels of decay.[ii] The problem has always been that these effects, due to the relative novelty of vaping, have never really fully been confirmed. Limited studies have provided different outcomes, and even though the general conclusion seems to be that vaping is bad, it’s still perhaps a little hasty to say that it is a definite ogre of oral health.
However, with the confirmation of further health problems caused by vaping, it might be time to advise patients to avoid it. It’s important to present the information when asking patients about their smoking/vaping habits, and it’s a good idea to use the support of news stories and sources to convince vapers that what they are doing is likely to be having a detrimental effect on their health. This way you can hopefully convince patients to go vape-free and seek alternative ways to stop smoking such as nicotine patches.
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[i] Mail Online. British Factory Worker, 57, Is Revealed to be the First Person in the World to Die from Lung Disease ‘Linked to Vaping’. Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7518913/British-factory-worker-57-worlds-person-die-disease-linked-VAPING.html [Lat accessed September 19].
[ii] Healthline. Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth? 7 Things to Know About Its Effects on Your Oral Health. Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/dental-and-oral-health-is-vaping-bad-for-your-teeth [Last accessed September 19].