A new trend in vaping is booming, one that promises big health benefits by delivering vitamins and other supplements through an aerosol mist. These “wellness vapes” nix nicotine, replacing it with ingredients like vitamin B12, caffeine and melatonin. They have exploded onto the market in recent years, and are marketed towards young people.
These wellness vapes, which are similar to e-cigarettes, claim to help you boost your energy and immunity, improve sleep, fight stress or even reduce ADHD symptoms. They come in slim cartridges with eye-catching names like Inhale Health and Nutriair, and they are sold online worldwide.
The problem with these claims is that they’re not backed by solid research. Researchers don’t know whether these products can actually deliver nutrients into the bloodstream, as they do when they’re taken orally, says Dr Gregory Ratti, a pulmonologist at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
There’s also a lack of information on how these non-nicotine products may affect the lungs, which are sensitive to chemicals and toxins. If these substances enter the lungs, they may trigger severe coughing, cause airway tightening and make it harder to speak or breathe, Ratti says.
It’s also not clear how the terpenes in these products, which are found in essential oils, will react with lung cells and tissues when vaped. The same is true for the flavorings that come in these vapes, which may cause reactive oxidative stress and inflammation.