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Is vaping a better option than smoking at bedtime?

Vaping: what’s in the e-cigarettecartridge, exactly?

A typical e-cigarette cartridge, or vape cartridge, isanelectronic nicotine delivery system.When you inhale an e-cigarette or vape product, you’re breathing in a heated chemical aerosol or vapor that nearly alwayscontains nicotine, the highly addictive substancefound in cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Many smokers or recovering smokersfeel that nicotine relaxes them, but the truth is, it’s a stimulant drug an “upper” that enhances wakefulness and alertness.

In addition to nicotine, vaping cartridges also contain additionalchemicals that provide “flavor.” These flavors (there are now over 7,000different varieties) poseadditional health dangers, many of which we’re only beginning to understand and study.

For example, when e-cigarette juice is heated and turned to vapor, resulting compounds caninclude substances like formaldehyde which youmay know as a chemical used to treat wood andpreserve medical specimens in jars. There is scientific evidence indicating that inhaling formaldehyde may be linked to cancer of the throat and nasal passages.

Also, according to a recent article published by PBS and Nova, some flavored e-liquids contain chemicals known to alterimmune cells and compromise the immune system. What does this mean? Vaping regularly may hurt your ability to fight off colds and infections.

Some vaping flavors also include a compound called diacetyl, which is best known for givinga buttery flavor to popcorn. DIacetyl has been linked to a serious, incurable lung disease called “popcorn lung.” The irritants in vapor can also aggravatealveolar conditions like asthma.

Why vaping is not beneficial for sleep

Both smoking and vaping expose yoursystemto the addictivestimulant nicotine. Research shows thatnicotine disrupts sleep in a variety of ways:

In addition to the known effects of nicotine,there’s the simple fact that you’re irritatingyour lungs by breathing in the various chemical compounds used to create and flavor e-cigarette vapor.

Daily inflammation of your lungs can lead to long-term breathingproblems like asthma and COPD, or acute or chronic respiratoryillnesseslikebronchitis or a nagging cough. These coughing fits, combined with not getting enoughoxygen when you breath, candisrupt your sleep and contributeto a host of otherhealth problems.

Obesity, for example, can be a side effect of persistently poor sleep, and that,in turn, cancontribute to obstructive sleep apnea.

Long story short: for your health, there’s no upside to vaping or smoking. They’re both bad for your health in general, and both contain chemicals that can pull you out of sleep or keep you awake.

Bedtime smoking (and vaping)reconsidered

Is vaping a better option at bedtime than smoking?

No. Both options include nicotine, a stimulant thatincreases wakefulness and insomnia. Both optionscause damage toyour respiratory system and your immune system.And both expose you to carcinogens. It’s a mistake to trustthat vaping will cut your risk of cancer; research into vaping’s healtheffects is still in its infancy, in comparison to studies done on tobacco products.

To relax yourself intoa high-quality sleep, it’s best to rememberthe rules of sleep hygiene. One very important rule:avoidany stimulant at all before bed. This means no smoking in any form, and ideally, no recreational druguse.

Be careful, too, to avoid caffeine or energy drinks, or any kind of cold or allergy medication that may include hidden sources of stimulants (hint: before sleep, avoid taking drugs that say “non-drowsy” on the box).

Though a bedtime smoke or vape may feelpsychologicallyrelaxing, remember, you’re consuming a drug that willintensify your focus and alertness. If you like the nighttime ritual of deep breathing, consider a non-smoking alternative instead, like meditation. Inhaling plain old oxygen has nothing but beneficialresults.

Further Reading

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