Vaping 101 for Dentists: Vaporizers, How They Work, and Protecting Patient Health
The long-term health effects of e-cigarettes and vaporizers used to consume tobacco are not yet known, but the use of these devices is on the rise among adults and youth in Canada. In the coming years, dental health professionals will play an important role in educating patients about the physical and oral health risks of vaping.
The Canadian Dental Association advises against smoking of tobacco due to the risks that smoking poses to individual oral and general health and is currently preparing a position statement specific to nicotine vaping and the general use of vaping products. In the meantime, CDA OASIS is providing dentists with resources and information like this post to keep the conversation going.
How Vaping Works
Most vaping devices use electrical power from a battery to heat a liquid solution. The heat causes the solution to become vaporized. The vapour then condenses into an aerosol, which is breathed in by the user through a mouthpiece in the vaping device.
There are two kinds of vaping devices:
Vaping devices are available in many shapes and sizes and can sometimes look like USB drives or pens.
The amount of substances exposure (including nicotine) when a person vapes can be affected by:
What Exactly is Being Vaped?
Most vaping substances are liquids, but wax and herbs are also available.
Vaping liquids contain nicotine and/or flavouring compounds all dissolved into one mixture, typically propylene glycol and/or glycerol. Nicotine content can be very low but can also exceed nicotine levels in a typical tobacco cigarette.
When heated up, vaping liquids produce an aerosol that may contain dozens of chemicals. The ingredients typically found in vaping liquids and resulting aerosol are:
Chemicals Present in Vaping Liquids
Health Considerations and Effects
The long-term health effects of vaping tobacco and liquids are currently unknown but continue to be assessed and researched. However, at this time, we do know that:
Addressing Health Concerns
In 2017, Health Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research established the Scientific Advisory Board on Vaping Products. The 10-member board includes scientists, researchers, academics, and health professionals, with expertise in a range of disciplines, including clinical medicine, population and public health, and basic and biomedical science who will:
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Until next time!
CDA Oasis Team