electronic cigarettes vape drip, drip vaping health risks and effects

Vape drips, also known as “drip vaping” or “dripping,” are e-cigarettes that are electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS), producing similar effects to that of tobacco cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes with nicotine have become popular among middle and high school students, college students, and young and older adults for several reasons. While these initially emerged as a “safer” alternative to tobacco smoking, e-cigarettes have their own set of adverse side effects and health risks.

Traditional E-Cigarette Vaping vs. Drip Vaping: What’s the Difference?

Vaping devices, also known as vape pens, electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are used to inhale an aerosol, typically nicotine or cannabis, flavorings, and other chemicals. These vape pens usually contain a vape pod or cartridge that holds the vape juice, atomizer/coil, battery, mouthpiece, and e-liquid. The e-liquid or vape juice is often a combination of nicotine, flavorings, propylene glycol (PG), and vegetable glycerin (VG). Traditional vaping uses the pod system or tank to store the vape juice, which feeds into the coil as it’s inhaled.

different types of vaping, drip vaping, dripping, health risks of drip vaping

Drip vaping, or “dripping,” is done by applying the e-liquid to the coils of an atomizer before each use. By removing the mouthpiece (drip tip), adding a few drops of vape juice to the coil, and then replacing the drip tip, the vape is ready to use. Due to the direct application of the e-liquid, vape drips produce a more robust flavor and more giant clouds of aerosol. Regular vaping produces consistent but smaller clouds and a less intense flavor since the juice passes through a wicking material.

Vape drips typically require more maintenance and cleaning than traditional vapes. Regular vaping is considered beginner-friendly as it uses pre-made coils and sealed pods that don’t need frequent application. While e-cigarettes have emerged as an alternative to traditional cigarettes, they still contain harmful chemicals and liquids. According to the CDC, dripping exposes users to higher levels of nicotine or cannabis and dangerous toxins like formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

The Short and Long-Term Effects and Risks of Drip Vaping

Electronic cigarettes have been promoted as a safer or healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes, but they still come with adverse effects and health risks. Dripping with vapes or e-cigarettes has started re-normalizing smoking, which may lead to the use of other substances. Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., accounting for over 480,000 deaths each year.

Electronic nicotine-delivery systems (ENDS) have become widely used among teenagers and young adults in the United States. Since 2014, electronic cigarettes have been the most used tobacco products among youth. In 2023, 1 out of 22 middle schoolers and 1 out of every high schooler reported use of e-cigarettes. Approximately 23.6 million people aged 12 and older reported nicotine dependence in 2020. With the rising concern of substance abuse, specifically tobacco and nicotine use, in adolescents, young adults, and older individuals, it’s critical to under the health risks associated with vape drips.

man with vape drip, drip vaping with electronic cigarette and nicotine addiction

Short-Term Effects and Health Risks of Dripping

Vape dripping offers more intense flavor and more enormous clouds of vapor, which contributes to a higher nicotine concentration. With higher nicotine delivery, users may experience a more pronounced buzz or high from drip vaping. The most common humectants used in vape juices, propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG), can influence the stimulus effects of electronic cigarettes. This can lead users to enjoy the impact of dripping, facilitating repeated and more frequent vape use.

The side effects of nicotine and vape dripping can include:

  • Irritation and burning of the throat and mouth
  • Coughing
  • Heartburn
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased salivation
  • Indigestion
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • Stuffy nose
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

With the increased exposure to nicotine, drip vaping holds a higher risk of nicotine poisoning, especially with high-nicotine e-liquids or inexperienced vapers. Symptoms of nicotine poisoning can include nausea, headaches, dizziness, and rapid heartbeat. Users are more susceptible to burns from direct contact with the heated coil or hot vape juice. Vape drips can cause potential injuries from device malfunctions or accidents when not appropriately handled.

Dripping requires higher combustion temperatures of the vape juice or e-liquids, which leads to increased exposure to toxic chemicals. Inhaling higher levels of e-liquid and harmful toxins such as acetaldehyde, acrolein, and formaldehyde can pose several health risks. These toxicant emissions can cause lung and cardiovascular issues, including lung disease and heart disease.

Long-Term Health Risks of Vape Drips

The long-term effects and health risks associated with vape drips can lead to chronic illnesses, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular issues, along with nicotine dependence and addiction. Prolonged use of vape drips or dripping can facilitate chronic respiratory problems, such as bronchitis and asthma. Drip vaping can also lead to long-term lung damage alongside chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.

man experiencing side effects and health risks of vaping, drip vaping risks and side effects, asthma and lung problems from nicotine vape drips

Vape drips increase the risk of developing COPD from prolonged exposure to toxicant emissions and nicotine. Additionally, users with long-term nicotine exposure from dripping are more susceptible to heart disease from an increase in blood pressure, cardiac contractility, and heart rate. Continuous vaping or dripping can lead users to become dependent on nicotine and experience cravings, irritability, and difficulty concentrating or functioning when not vaping. Nicotine dependence can quickly develop into an addiction when users consistently give in to cravings and vape constantly.

When stopping vape drips, some users may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Severe cravings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling irritated or grouchy
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain

While vape drips, aka “dripping,” enhance the flavor and nicotine high, they carry significant health risks. Even though e-cigarettes or vapes are considered less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes, the nicotine and other toxic chemicals in e-liquids are still of concern. It’s essential to be aware of the health risks and concerns surrounding nicotine use and vape drips.

If you’re struggling with nicotine dependence or addiction, Coastal Detox is here to help. Our South Florida drug detox in Stuart, FL, can help nicotine users through the drug detox and withdrawal process with medical support and professional care.