TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – If you believe vaping nicotine is safer than smoking cigarettes, Dr. Javiar Cuevas disagrees. He is a molecular pharmacologist at the University of South Florida who has studied the effects of nicotine on the body.
“There are changes that happen in your brain that make you crave this compound so it’s not something easy to give up,” Dr. Cuevas said.
Dr. Cuevas points out that nicotine is also a stimulant that can impact your heart health.
“When they first start smoking, their heart rate goes up. Even if they’re a chronic smoker they will see a change in how their heart beats,” he said.
He worries that the vaping epidemic is getting a whole new generation addicted to nicotine.
“If you’re hooked on nicotine the jump from vaping to regular cigarettes is not that big of a leap.”
Flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy, according to Dr. Cuevas, are the reason so many young kids have started vaping. And taking the nicotine out doesn’t make it safe either.
“Even short term, some of these flavorings they’re adding, those can kill heart cells just on their own,” he said.
His main concern is what we are going to learn decades down the road.
“The problem with vaping is kind of complex because we don’t know what vaping is going to do long term,” he told 8 On Your Side.
LATEST HEART WALK STORIES:
- When it comes to heart disease, family history matters
- Heart Walk fundraising goal reached with help from viewers, community
- Did you know? Electronic cigarettes impact heart health
- Heart Walk 2019: Donate during 8 On Your Side’s phone bank Tuesday
- Check your zip code: Where you live can determine how long you live