Fortunately, in the United States, smoking is decreasing over the last decade. As a surgeon who treats lung cancer, this makes me very happy.
However, a new trend has developed over recent years with the use of electronic cigarettes or vaping. Vaping or e-cigarettes is inhalation of a vaporized substance typically containing nicotine that is atomized, as opposed to ignited or burned. It is done using an electronic vaporizer which looks very similar to a traditional cigarette.
Some argue that this substitute is a better alternative than traditional smoking, but I have mixed feelings about e-cigarettes.
It is not clear at all whether electronic cigarettes are safer than tobacco and a whole field of research is emerging to study this question. Most certainly, it is not at all clear whether e-cigarette use is helpful in quitting smoking, and it is not presently approved for that indication.
A non-profit group, The American Vaping Association, advocates for vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes, claiming a number of testimonials of those who have made the switch from nicotine smoking with positive results.
I do believe that e-cigarettes most likely carry less harmful effects to a person’s health than a standard cigarette. However, I do not feel that they are totally harmless. I am most concerned that the habit of e-cigarette use might over time lead to increased cigarette use, although this is entirely unproven. However, as a public health concern this is a real issue and currently being researched.
It is important to realize that it is clearly better not to smoke any form of cigarette. In addition, stopping smoking is best for a person’s global lung and cardiovascular health. This cannot be overemphasized.
In fact, many electronic cigarettes contain flavoring chemicals that are not regulated by the FDA. This poses potential risks to those who chose vaping or to use e-cigarettes.
According to a new study, nicotine might not be the only hazardous chemical tied to e-cigarettes. Researchers recently found that almost 75 percent of flavored e-cigs tested contained a dangerous chemical linked to a deadly lung disease called ‘Popcorn Lung.’ Roger Khetan, MD, an internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, recently discussed the health risks associated with this chemical.
Education opportunities are vital to preventing and treating lung cancer, which is why we recently held an informative seminar, “The Truth About Lung Cancer and New Forms of Smoking” to discuss such issues. It does not matter if you are young, old, a smoker or non-smoker, you may be affected by lung cancer.
As e-cigarettes and other smoking habits emerge, researchers and providers are examining these chemicals which are exposed in the air as you inhale, and what connection they may have to lung cancer.
There have been incredible advancements in diagnosing and treating lung cancer. We know it is essential to accurately determine the stages of lung cancer for proper treatment. Getting treated by a multidisciplinary team including pulmonologists, radiologists, oncologists, radiation oncologists and thoracic surgeons is critical to an optimal outcome. New, minimally invasive approaches to lung cancer surgery have made it safer and easier on patients with faster recovery.
Despite the advancements in medicine, the most effective way to minimize lung cancer is to decrease your risk. This means avoiding smoking altogether, whether it be cigarettes or vaping.