After exploding on the scene as a tobacco alternative for smokers in 2007, e-cigarettes have skyrocketed in popularity. Here's what you need to know about vaping and nicotine.

For over a decade now, the usage of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has gotten more and more prevalent among smokers and newcomers alike. You see people vaping everywhere, even in public spaces where smoking cigarettes would be frowned upon. Instead of filling the air with clouds of stale tobacco smoke, e-cigarette users surround themselves with sweet-smelling, seemingly benign vapor.

Is vaping really all that harmless, though? Let's see what the experts have to say.

vaping, smoke

The truth of the matter is that e-cigarettes contain plenty of nicotine. A single five-percent Juul pod contains the same amount of nicotine as 20 tobacco cigarettes, according to CNN Health. Even the main page of the Juul website warns visitors that nicotine is an addictive substance. Regardless of where you get it, through smoking, vaping, or even chewing tobacco, nicotine can get you hooked if you keep at it long enough.

According to the American Heart Association, nicotine can affect your circulatory system by raising your blood pressure and heart rate. Nicotine can also cause narrowing of your blood vessels and subsequently, a heart attack. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that nicotine can stunt adolescent brain development. This makes it especially risky for anyone in their teens and early 20s.

In addition to all of these negative effects, trying to kick the nicotine habit has its own set of withdrawal symptoms. As a former smoker, I can attest that the irritability, cravings, and foggy-headed feeling are all very real.

vaping, smoke

In the long run, while vaping may be LESS harmful for you than smoking tobacco, it isn't harmless by any means. In fact, recent news stories link vaping to over 100 cases of pulmonary disease across the country. This is definitely a development that bears watching as scientists and the CDC continue to study the effects of e-cigarettes on the human body.

For more information, visit the CDC page on e-cigarette use.

**All of the photos in this article are courtesy of Pexels.

Do you prefer vaping over smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes? What has your experience with e-cigarettes been? Let us know in the comments!