Beyond nicotine, vapes now offer everything from melatonin-induced tranquillity to vitamin-infused aromatherapy. But do they offer genuine wellness benefits, or is it all smoke and mirrors? Let’s dive in.
Feeling tired? Want to inhale “pure focus?” Wrap yourself in a „mist of relaxation“? Or how about inhaling your caffeine rather than drinking it? Turns out, there’s a „wellness vape“ for that.
Though ‚wellness vapes‘ are gaining popularity, it’s crucial to tread cautiously. Because as the allure grows, so, too, do the audacious health claims. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned against the unsubstantiated claims that these vape medical miracles can fight cancer and prevent dementia.
So, while these vapes promise a world of benefits, do they deliver? And more importantly, are they safe?
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Green tea extract, essential oils, and milk thistle are common feel-good ingredients in wellness vapes. However, many of these elements have not been studied for safety or benefits when vaped.
Here’s the thing. To be beneficial, any chemical in a wellness vape must survive a heating process of several hundred degrees, become aerosolized, and then be absorbed at sufficient levels by our lungs. And there has been little research into the real advantages of inhaling these substances over traditional consumption.
And while something may be safe to consume, inhaling it could be a different story. A distressing case in point? In 2019, vitamin E acetate in cannabis vapes was identified by the American Lung Association as the cause of severe lung inflammation for thousands in the US.
Caffeine vapes aren’t exempt from concerns. While caffeine is a staple for many, the exact safe dosage remains uncertain. With caffeine already prevalent in our diets—from coffee to energy drinks—there is legitimate concern about the possibility of inadvertent overdose.
Digging deeper into the vape’s ingredients, beyond caffeine, raises even more eyebrows. The fluid in these ‚wellness vapes‘ can sometimes contain unadvertised components, including nicotine. The ABC has identified a slew of chemicals, many of which might not be so lung-friendly. Flavourings, solvents, and „cooling agents“ (think of the icy feel in mints) are all part of the mix. While these may be safe to consume or apply, their safety when inhaled is unknown.
Dr Jody Morgan, a chemical toxicologist, brings attention to potentially toxic compounds formed in these vapes during storage. Morgan told the ABC that alarmingly, some even contain chemicals like ethylene glycol (found in antifreeze) or elements commonly seen in insecticides and disinfectants. These aren’t exactly the wellness boosters anyone had in mind!
Though vaping is lauded as a safer alternative to smoking, the heat applied to the components can transform seemingly harmless substances into something more deadly. Morgan, for example, warns that the heat may not completely vaporise certain „aromatherapy oils,“ leaving users to inhale raw oil droplets—hardly a formula for lung health.
The evidence against vaping is rising. A growing body of evidence reveals a link between vaping and lung harm. Research is increasingly pointing to vaping-induced lung problems and increased risks of respiratory infections.
Dr Aaron Scott, a respiratory expert, discovered that vape fluids can impair immune cells that are essential for fighting lung infections. „Regardless of whether it’s a nicotine vape or a ‚wellness‘ vape, harmful agents are delivered to the lungs,“ Scott told the ABC. The hazards may be heightened for persons who already have respiratory diseases, such as asthma.
Given this, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners supports attempts to regulate vaping, such as restrictions on single-use vapes and tighter limits on nicotine vapes.
So, what’s the consensus on these trendy ‚wellness vapes‘? The consensus among experts like Dr Morgan and Dr Scott is crystal clear: the potential risks of „wellness“ vapes far eclipse any uncertain benefits. As Dr Scott aptly puts it, there’s no benign version of a wellness vape, making the term ‚wellness vape‘ „a misnomer.“
Their advice? Stick to the regular methods of getting your vitamins, coffee, and melatonin. Beyond any promised wellness boosters, there could be concealed nicotine or a combination of substances, some of which you’d normally avoid.