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20th Apr 2023

Experts send urgent warning to young people of the dangers of vaping

“There is mounting evidence that it is very dangerous.”

Experts have warned young people of the “very dangerous” effects that can come with vaping.

New research has found that it could take up to 10 years before we see the impact of vaping on young people.

Taking part in the RCSI MyHealth series, experts discussed the impact that vaping has on young lives and found that greater regulation is needed.

Professor Gerry McElvaney, Head of the School of Medicine at RCSI, clinician and principal investigator in respiratory health said: “It took too long for us to understand the damage caused by tobacco and we cannot afford to do the same with vaping.

“We know that many people who vape are using it as a way of giving up smoking but there is no evidence to say it is safe and alarmingly, there is mounting evidence that it is very dangerous.

“What’s even more concerning is that we know that there are young people vaping who have never smoked tobacco.”

He went on to explain that the research now being carried out is starting to reveal cardiovascular and respiratory damage and suggests that vaping can affect brain development.

Vaping is also believed to exacerbate asthma or even cause it despite a person never having suffered from it before.

Professor Donal O’Shea, Professor and Head of Department, Department of Chemistry, RCSI, added: “The retail outlets that sell vapes use colour and flavour to appeal to younger demographics.

“For example, older people might enjoy the menthol flavour whereas fruit and sweet flavours can be more attractive to younger people.

“However, the health effects of inhaling these heated flavour chemicals and additives that are contained in vapes directly into the lungs is unknown.”

Dr Dan Wu, Honorary Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry, also said: “Young people are attracted by the flavours and are influenced by peer pressure as vaping can be seen to be ‘cool’.

“It’s very important that we find ways of educating young people about the great risk they are taking when they vape.”

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