There's no doubt that smoking had a fashionable glow-up in recent years with many women and men swapping out toxic cigarettes for vapes. As new research emerges, however, we're learning that not only are they extremely detrimental to the human body, vaping poses concerning health risks, like serious hormone disruption and skin problems beyond simply premature aging. Not only that, but for women specifically, vaping is apparently a massive turnoff for men.
CDC data has shown a major outbreak of lung injury associated with vaping products. In October 2021, published research from Johns Hopkins University revealed thousands of chemical ingredients in vape products, most of which aren’t yet identified! That’s disturbing in and of itself. Furthermore in 2021, the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology investigated the chemical exposure from vaping. Medical analysis discovered six toxic and potentially hazardous additives and contaminants present in vape products, including the industrial chemical tributyl phosphine oxide, and the liquids in inhalable aerosols have been associated with industrial use for combustion and connected with concerning respiratory problems.
One of the main ingredients in vapes is nicotine, which poses multiple health hazards – research shows it increases risks for cardiovascular, respiratory, and even gastrointestinal disorders. Nicotine seems to calm you (which is a major motivator for many to begin vaping), but medical research shows it actually raises blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, increasing your risks for heart attack as well as chronic lung diseases. Nicotine also weakens the immune system and compromises reproductive health. Moreover, nicotine is highly addictive, so once you start using nicotine products, it’s a slippery slope of getting hooked. It often becomes extremely difficult to wean off, and you’re continually harming your health in the process. Nearly 7 out of 10 smokers say they want to stop, but desire and action are two very different things.
These are the facts – smoking a vape is basically puffing poison into your body. You’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals and toxic additives that aren’t yet fully understood. Why would people willingly put this into their bodies? In doing so, you put your own internal and external health (um, hello, skin beauty?) and longevity at risk, as well as your fertility and chance of having healthy babies. This is a concern for men as well as for women.
Hormone Disruptions and Fertility Issues
Studies indicate that many of the harmful ingredients in e-cigarettes, a.k.a. vapes, contain endocrine disruptors, which disturb hormonal balance and morphology and the function of reproductive organs. Vaping can result in reduced sperm count in men and decreased ovarian reserve in women, and it also can cause inflammation in the uterus, which makes implantation more difficult to achieve. Nicotine is often a primary substance in vape products, and nicotine use has been shown to affect important hormones such as estrogen and testosterone in animal studies. Smoking nicotine products can cause menstrual irregularities, pregnancy complications, and decreased fertility in women.
The toxic chemicals found in vape “juice” are known to damage eggs and sperm and can cause miscarriages and birth defects.
Even if a vape doesn’t contain the drugs nicotine or marijuana (although nicotine is usually a primary ingredient), the toxic chemicals alone found in vape “juice” harm fertility by disrupting hormones and upsetting their normal functions. They also negatively affect the structure and function of sperm. These same chemicals are known to damage not only eggs and sperm but can also cause miscarriages, birth defects, and/or serious health problems in a child.
Some of these chemicals are diacetyl and formaldehyde – both of which are directly linked to lung disease and cancer – as well as heavy metals such as lead, chromium, nickel, and metal-like arsenic. Studies suggest these metals are released by the coils inside the vape device that heat the liquid to produce the vapor (a.k.a. fumes), and inhaling these metals is correlated with lung, liver, immune, and brain damage, not to mention several cancers. Additionally, studies confirm that heavy metal exposure can impair fertility and affect reproductive health and function in men and women. Want to have happy hormones and healthy babies? Toss the vape and do whatever necessary to wean yourself off.
Skin and System Problems
Vaping affects multiple factors that impact your skin health as well. The below health risks are general and apply to both sexes.
Both smoking and vaping contribute to dehydration. Ever seen a long-term smoker’s face? Yep, it was probably wrinkled like a raisin. Nicotine, which is a common ingredient in e-cigarettes, is a vasoconstrictor that negatively affects circulation and can reduce blood flow to the skin. Reduced blood flow results in decreased oxygen and nutrient delivery to the skin cells, leading to dryness and dehydration. This inhibited circulation also lends to a sallow paleness that often haunts vapers’ faces, making it look like they haven’t seen the sun in months.
Vaping has been associated with increased inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can contribute to various skin issues, including redness, puffiness, and the exacerbation of existing skin conditions like acne and psoriasis, as well as internal tissue damage and gut problems.
Vaping has been linked to a reduction in collagen production in the body.
Reduced Collagen Production
Collagen is a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. Smoking, including vaping, has been linked to a reduction in collagen production in the body. Not just smoking cigarettes but also vaping can contribute to premature aging and the development of fine lines and wrinkles. Vaping also triggers a domino effect of free radical activity, which essentially steals electrons from the collagen proteins in the skin, where the free radicals are like small needles that poke holes in the skin and damage and weaken it over time. In a nutshell, vaping will add years to your face and potentially make you look tired and old.
Delayed Wound Healing
Nicotine can impair the process of wound healing by affecting blood vessel function. This may lead to delayed healing of wounds, increased risk of infection, and potential scarring. This applies to cuts and bruises as well as acne.
Studies show that vaping exposes the body to oxidative stress, a condition where there is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Oxidative stress can contribute to cellular damage, and this damage may extend to the skin, accelerating the aging process (as explained above). Vaping also taxes the liver and can make you more prone to developing liver disease.
What the Guys Said
Regarding vaping's sex appeal, I did a social media poll as well as asked personal guy friends if they thought women vaping was attractive or a turnoff. 98% of responses came back confirming that seeing a woman vaping is a major ick. To nearly all men, vaping is unattractive on females. They reported that it looks unclassy and unfeminine.
One guy said, “It just looks kind of skanky, though if the girl is dressed nice, then it doesn’t look as bad, but most of the time they’re not dressed nice...”
Another guy even said vaping was a dealbreaker for him, and yet another said it was a turnoff “big time.”
Maybe this is the association with smoking that has culturally been a taboo topic for generations (that girls smoking was risqué, and it made them look cheap or “improper,” until it became a cultural norm). Or maybe guys subconsciously think it looks unattractive because it’s an unhealthy habit and one that would harm a woman’s fertility and/or her look as a mother – because, consciously or not, guys who are looking for a mate instinctively want someone who will give them healthy children. Whatever it may be, the common consensus is that men don’t like it when women vape. The great majority of guys consider it a turnoff in one way or another.
Whether you're in the market for a mate or not, why put toxic vapor and chemicals in your body and increase your risks for cancer, infertility, and other health issues? If you're puffing on your vape as you read this, it may be time to ask yourself if it genuinely makes you a happier, healthier, and better person – if the answer isn’t yes, then there’s a choice to be made.
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