Vaping has been in the news a lot lately, and most of the press has been negative. Once seen as a safer alternative to cigarettes, a number of vaping-related illnesses have caused health officials to deem vaping a danger. One common side effect ENT doctors in West Chester are seeing more frequently these days is called “vape tongue.”
The Dangers in Vaping
In case you live under a rock, vaping refers to the act of inhaling the vapor generated by an electronic cigarette or other device. 2019 has not been a good year for the manufacturers of e-cigarettes, as an outbreak of vaping illnesses has led to thousands of people becoming sick (and even dying) after inhaling chemical fumes from these devices.
How many people have died from vaping?
Symptoms include chronic cough, breathing problems and nausea. As of November 5, 2019, 39 people have died as a result of vaping.
What is vape tongue?
While not as serious as most of the vaping illnesses that have made headlines, vape tongue is still an unpleasant side effect of that is increasingly viewed as an unsafe habit. People suffering from vape tongue in West Chester have become desensitized to flavor as a result of “vape juice” coating their tongue.
What causes vape tongue?
Because the condition is relatively new and largely unheard of, there hasn’t yet been any in-depth studies of the phenomenon, and doctors aren’t entirely sure of the exact cause. It has been confirmed, however, that vape tongue affects people who vape both nicotine and THC, so neither of those substances can be blamed.
What do doctors think causes vape tongue?
It’s theorized that the solvents used in vape juices to convert the nicotine or THC particles into an aerosol form for inhaling are to blame. There are a number of chemicals, including propylene glycol, ethylene glycol and vegetable glycerin, that are suspected of causing this reaction.
What other affects can vape tongue cause?
Users who frequently consume these ingredients often experience a coating on the tongue that blocks flavors from reaching the taste buds, and inflammation of the nasal cavity that interferes with the sense of smell, which is important in allowing us to taste. It’s similar to the desensitization experienced by cigarette smokers. Vape tongue doesn’t just interfere with the enjoyment of the flavors of the vape; it also prevents you from enjoying the taste of foods and beverages.
Can vape tongue be cured?
Luckily, vape tongue resolves on its own; within a couple of weeks of discontinuing the practice of vaping, your tongue should regain its ability to taste. There may be additional long-term hazards associated with vape tongue that aren’t yet known, however.
Can vaping cause other health problems?
Vape tongue could potentially affect your oral health; studies have found that vaping can lead to a variety of oral health problems, including lung inflammation and gastrointestinal disorders. A study published in the November 2016 medical journal Oncotarget found that oral tissue inflammation occurs after only a few minutes of ingesting tobacco and menthol-flavored vapes.
This inflammation increases the risk of gum disease, oral cancer and other oral diseases. Vaping may actually lead to changes in oral tissue at the molecular level, according to another study, increasing the risk of cancer. More research into vape tongue is needed before we can more fully understand all the associated risks.
Despite the absence of data examining the long-term health consequences of vaping, it’s pretty clear the risks outweigh any benefits for most users. To learn more about vaping diseases or to request help in quitting the habit, contact an ear, nose and throat specialist in West Chester.
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West Chester, PA ENT Office Locations
795 East Marshall Street #303
West Chester, PA 19380