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Expert warns vaping can 'change brain chemistry'

Expert warns vaping can 'change brain chemistry'

Dr Mike has urged young people not to take up vaping

A doctor has warned people of the potential dangers facing them from vaping.

It's widely understood that vapes are one of the best ways to give up smoking, but are they as safe as most think?

Well, according to Dr Mike, a family medicine specialist and YouTuber, they could pose a huge risk to young people.

A recent survey by Action on Smoking and Health found that 15 percent of children aged 11 to 15, and more than a third of 16 to 17-year-olds in the UK, have vaped at some point.

And speaking out about the risks of vaping to our health, Dr Mike warned that the little devices can actually 'change the chemistry in the brain'.

Dr Mike, who has over 25 million followers on social media and is also the host of ‘The Checkup with Doctor Mike’ podcast, made the point that because, on paper, vaping is not as harmful as cigarettes, many more people are getting hooked on it, leading to health issues and scares.

The risk is believed to be even greater amongst children because their brains are still developing.

A recent study found that harmful chemicals in vapes could be stunting the growth of their brains and other organs.

How dangerous is vaping? (Getty Stock Image)
How dangerous is vaping? (Getty Stock Image)

Dr Mike explained that vaping is particularly a problem in children as their frontal lobes are still developing whilst receiving these dangerously rewarding chemicals.

Therefore, this means that the part of their brain that is responsible for complex decision making is not yet fully formed, making them incredibly susceptible to addiction.

This is particularly dangerous when coupled with vaping due to bright coloured enticing packaging, sweet flavours and a nice smelling odour.

Dr Mike told the Diary of a CEO podcast: “It can change the chemistry in their brain moving forward so we don’t want to make it easier for them to start smoking."

He also said: “There has been children who have been hospitalised with it. There has been vaping related lung injury, where that is its own diagnosis code now.”

Dr Mike has warned people of the dangers posed by vaping. (YouTube/Diary of A CEO)
Dr Mike has warned people of the dangers posed by vaping. (YouTube/Diary of A CEO)

During the podcast Dr Mike made it clear that although the dangers of vaping for children are negative there are still positive uses for vapes.

He made the point that vaping should be used as a tool to stop smoking cigarettes and should not be a way of introducing people to nicotine, specifically children.

A key point that was made during the podcast was that 'insidious misinformation can be more problematic than true disinformation'.

He said: “I’m here trying to explain that vaping can be problematic because on the surface it may not look as harmful, by comparison.”

In many cases people do not understand the risks there are to vaping as 'the chemicals found inside are really rewarding to the brain', overriding any medical advice.

Dr Mike furthered his point by comparing the effects of vaping to the effects of Covid-19.

For a period, Covid was not as big of a problem - there were worse viruses in the world at that point - but complacency and asymptomatic spread changed this.

Similarly, vaping was supposed to be a positive change that stopped smokers from using cigarettes but has now unfortunately become a worldwide problem, similar to Covid-19.

“When something doesn’t seem that bad, we can allow it to go much further and cause much more harm," Dr Mike explained.

Although there are many dangerous risks to vaping it is important to note that according to the NHS, people who switch completely from smoking to vaping have significantly reduced exposure to toxins associated with risks of cancer, lung disease, heart disease and stroke.

The NHS also has evidence that shows nicotine vapes are a more effective way of quitting smoking compared to other replacement therapies such as patches and gum - most specifically because of the hand to mouth action and the similar ‘throat hit’.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Diary of A CEO/Getty Stock Image

Topics: Science, Vaping, Health, YouTube