Researchers have gathered information about the potential negative side effects of tobacco products with an Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). The results of the academic research were presented in the February 2019 edition of the Journal of Dental Hygiene under the title, “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems: Current trends and patient education opportunities for dental hygienists.”
About Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, otherwise known as vape pens and electronic cigarettes to the general public, allow users to inhale nicotine using electronic liquid (or e-liquid). There are many different types of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems on the market. For example, vape enthusiasts can buy a device that looks just like a traditional cigarette or one that resembles a flash drive.
The electronic liquid contains a mixture of water, nicotine, food-grade flavoring, and propylene glycol (PG) or vegetable glycerin (VG). Propylene glycol is a colorless and odorless byproduct of petroleum with a naturally sweet taste. It’s one of the main components of electronic liquid since it can produce vapor when it’s heated up to a certain temperature inside the device. However, a small percentage of people avoid electronic liquid with propylene glycol because it can cause an allergic reaction.
Meanwhile, vegetable glycerin has a thicker consistency and tastes sweeter than propylene glycol. Some people prefer to buy batches of e-liquid with higher concentrations of vegetable glycerin since it can produce thicker vape clouds and provide a smoother vaping experience. Altogether, the majority of popular electronic liquid flavors taste like candy or resemble delicious treats like cookies and ice cream.
Vaping is becoming more popular across the country, especially with the youth. Over a million children and young adults vape frequently. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, almost a quarter of high school students (an estimated 21%) used e-cigarettes or vape pens in 2018. Unfortunately, the trend is catching on with younger middle school students as well. Around 5% of all middle school students admitted to their pediatricians that they vape at least once a month.
This growing trend is very concerning to parents, dental professionals, and other medical professionals since previous studies show that children who vape are more likely to use cigarettes or other tobacco products in the future as they mature. The chemical compounds in electronic liquid may also negatively impact their health.
A Closer Look at the Study
A team of researchers decided to conduct a literature search to learn more about how Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems can affect a patient’s health. They also wanted to see if they could identify potential strategies and opportunities that dental professionals could use to prevent patients from picking up a vape pen.
For the study, the scientists reviewed a large sample of data from 85 different sources including PubMed, MEDLINE, Google Scholar, and the Smoking, and Tobacco Abstracts and News Bulletin. They also looked at government documents and popular medical journals. All of the literature was published after the year 2010. By the end of their research, they were able to see large negative trends concerning the health and safety of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems.
Overall, dental professionals can better assist their patients by explaining the potential negative side effects that vaping can have on their health. They should also take extra precaution with younger patients who may not fully understand how this habit can hinder their body’s physical development. Dental professionals should try their hardest to inform dental patients about the possible poor health consequences of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems.
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