The UK government is on the brink of banning single-use vapes amidst rising calls from experts and new studies demonstrating cause for alarm. Amongst environmental waste concerns, marketing designed to appeal to children and young adults, rising addiction trends and the presence of many unknown chemicals, experts warn that the effect of vaping on your skin is detrimental over time.
According to data released by Action on Smoking Health, nearly 5 million adults in Great Britain are using single-use vapes. But it’s the rate amongst children 11-17 that is most alarming. In 2023, 20.5% of children in Great Britain tried vaping, up from 13% in 2020 prior to COVID. While most of those were experimental, defined as smoking from a vape “once or twice,” the jump in childhood interaction with these nicotine products is a huge cause for concern.
Nicotine Causes Skin to Age Faster
Speaking of nicotine, vapes often have a lot of it. London-based general practitioner and frequent expert source for ITV’s This Morning, Sara Kayat, MD explained recently in a segment that amount of nicotine in a single-use vape can be even higher than the amount present in a cigarette.
“Often, the nicotine found within vapes can be significantly higher than those in cigarettes,” Dr. Kayat says. “It can be even more addictive.”If that’s not enough, there’s also significant cause to worry about how vaping might impact your skin.
General practitioner at medical center The Health Suite, Asiya Maula, spoke with Express on the subject, explaining that nicotine consumption can present serious skin problems. “The nicotine and chemicals used in vapes can cause the breakdown of collagen, a protein which helps to keep our skin firm and plump. This is why we see vapers develop lines around their lips,” Dr. Maula says. “Premature aging occurs as nicotine constricts blood vessels, reducing blood flow to the skin, which deprives it of oxygen and vital nutrients. This leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, and a prematurely aged appearance.”
This effect can be dramatic.
“Individuals who vape often display these signs of ageing earlier than their non-vaping counterparts, sometimes looking decades older than they are,” Dr. Maula explains.
Are Vapes Better Than Cigarettes?
From a lack of long-term studies to the sheer number of unique formulas containing unknown chemical combinations, vapes are difficult to study and even more difficult to make concrete statements about.
“We do know that it can cause lung injury, and there are a lot of other concerns that are starting to develop,” Dr. Kayat explains. “Perhaps the most concerning is lung injury, including what’s called popcorn lung, which is an inflammatory lung disease that can occur as a result of vaping.”
While most experts are agreed that right now, vaping is safer than smoking, that doesn’t make vaping safe.