Put Down The Vape: E-Cigs Might Be Killing Teens' Lungs Too

New research suggests even nicotine-free vapes can damage your lungs.

By Brittney McKenna

To vape or not to vape? That's the question on the lips of many a smoker. Potential benefits like decreased health risks and fewer restrictions on vaping in public have been touted by marketers and studies alike. But new research increasingly indicates that vaping is still bad for you, and that's rapidly affecting one of the biggest groups adopting e-cigarettes: teens.

A CDC study says e-cigarette use among middle school students tripled from 1.1 to 3.9% between 2013 and 2014. The numbers are even more dire for high school students -- theirs spiked from 4.5 to to 13.5% percent over the same period of time.

These are scary statistics given new research from the American Physiological Society. Their findings "suggest nicotine in any form is damaging to lungs." Even e-cigs with no nicotine content can also be dangerous to users' lung health, the study found.

Researchers determined the correlation between e-cigarettes and lung damage by exposing both mice and humans to a variety of tobacco products, including e-cigarette solution with and without nicotine.

"The increased use of inhaled nicotine via e-cigarettes, especially among the youth, prompts increased research into the effects on health. This research reports that components found in commercially available e-cigarette solutions and vapors generated by heating them may cause lung inflammation,” lead researcher Irina Petrache, Ph.D. said in a press release.

Many schools have long had anti-smoking education programs, but based on this research, it looks like it's time to introduce anti-vaping education too.