Can You Get Throat Cancer from Vaping?

Vapes, commonly known as E-cigarettes, is a small device that runs on batteries. It heats up the nicotine and other flavoured chemicals, changes them into smoke so that you can breathe. These chemicals like formaldehyde, particles and some heavy metals get stuck inside the lungs and are responsible for causing cancer.

E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes pour nicotine directly in the throat, lungs and blood without the tar and smoke of a normal cigarette. Along with this, other perilous things also enter the lungs directly when one vape flavoured cigarettes. It is very difficult to analyse the amount of chemicals you breathe in when you inhale the e-cigarette. According to some studies, e-cigarettes running on high voltage consist of more formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals than normal e-cigarettes.

Some of the chemicals can cause irritations in the passages of the throat and lungs. For example, cinnamon leads to inflammation of the cells inside the lungs. However, more research is required to analyse the greater risk factors of vaping.

Can You Get Throat Cancer from Vaping?

Can You Get Throat Cancer From Vaping?

Studies suggested that vaping possess only 5% of the risk of smoking. E-cigarettes do not have tobacco in it but contain a liquid with nicotine in it which causes addiction but not throat cancer. Additionally, e-cigarettes exhibits less nicotine than normal cigarettes. Nevertheless, people with chronic heart disease must be careful because nicotine worsens the heart condition. Moreover, some chemicals like propylene glycol that are present in the e-juice, can damage the eyes and the air passages.

Sometimes, the batteries can also burst in the face damaging the skin and tissues of the face.

It cannot be said that vaping is completely harmless, but it has lesser damaging effects. The adverse effects depend on the presence of nicotine and the amount of nicotine inhaled. These days, internet is a great source of knowledge. However, people hardly take time out to go through the researches in original to identify the risk factors. They tend to rely on the never –stopping chain of advices and the fear drives them off. Sometimes, these information are misleading which is the case that the latest “e-cig causing cancer” is carried away with. In order to know the correct information, people are advised to go through the researches and compare the results of the studies and then come to a proper conclusion.

It has been already demonstrated that although we are aware of the most common factors that contribute to cancer, it has not yet been possible to blame the exact cause. Rather, a collection of factors can be taken into considerations. Thus, pin pointing out factors directly contributing to cancer, is quite misleading, and rather presenting it as a risk factor associated with cancer would have been much suitable. The causes of cancer are yet to be identified, but we are aware of what may add up to the condition.

However, a recent research that was done on mice and human cells has suggested that vaping might increase the risk of cancer and heart disease but could not yet establish a direct link with vaping causing cancer.

Vaping Causing Lung Disease

Diacetyl, is a buttery flavoured chemical in e-cigarette which has been linked with the serious bronchiolitis obliterans. It is also called popcorn lung. The name was coined when people working in the popcorn factory acquired severe lung disease because of continuously inhaling diacetyl. The chemical was used to add flavour to caramel, dairy products and popcorn. The chemical is breathed while vaping which are quite similar to the workers breathing the same chemicals in the popcorn plants.

The chemical may lead to wheezing, fever, headache, dry cough which might not go away. The vapour may also irritate areas like throat, nose, eyes and skin. It produces small scars in the air sac inside the lungs which leads to the thickening of the sac hence it narrows down the passage.

When the association between diacetyl and lungs was discovered, the popcorn companies removed the harmful chemicals from their product. However, it exists in the flavours of e-cigarettes like vanilla, coconut, maple, alcohol flavour, fruit flavour, and candy flavour. These flavours often lure teenagers, young adults and even kids sometimes.

There is no treatment for the popcorn lungs although there are some medicines to keep it away from being worse. Medicines like steroids, antibiotics can help to relax the inflammation in the lungs.


Vaping reportedly have up to 97% lower chemicals compared to other smokers. This is the level that the non-smokers obtain from the passive smoking or from their environment. It is less harmful than the smoking but can lead to addiction in the young population. Vaping is an alternative to smoking but its adverse side is yet to come out in studies. Since the trend is very new, researchers are working on the area to find out its relation with throat cancer and other health concerns.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 24, 2018

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