Q: I was a cigarette smoker for 30 years until my doctor told me that I needed to quit immediately. So I started vaping. It sure made it easy to walk away from tobacco. But can I use nicotine vapes safely? — Jordan B., Milwaukee
A: The reason it was easy to go from cigarette to vape is because you were substituting one nicotine source for another. And that's no way to reduce your health risks.
Nicotine is an addictive drug that is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders, decreased immune response, harm to reproductive health and DNA mutation that leads to cancer. Plus, the American Heart Association says that vapers who think vaping nicotine can help them stop using cigarettes are likely to continue smoking cigarettes while they vape — that's called "dual use."
Vaping anything has never been safe. The only studies that say there's no harm associated with e-cigarettes are those funded by the vaping (tobacco) industry. The Altria Group (formerly Philip Morris of Marlboro and Virginia Slims fame) recently acquired a 35% stake in Juul. It's an old, familiar bag of tricks. Remember the '50s ad slogan that said, "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette"?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that as of this writing more than 1,080 people have developed lung illnesses and at least 19 people have died from vaping. Those numbers could be just the tip of the iceberg. Lung damage from vaping isn't associated only with THC; nicotine also has been a cause. According to Mayo Clinic doctors, vaping-induced lung injury "looks like a toxic chemical exposure, a toxic chemical fume exposure or a chemical burn injury." That's because vaping is a delivery system for flavorings, ultrafine particles, heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.
So go to www.heart.org and type in "5 Steps to Quit" (it includes vaping). For more comprehensive program, talk to your doctor.
Q: I've been waking up grumpy lately, and I don't know why. I'm usually fine by midday. What can I do when I wake up to set myself up for a good mood in the morning? — Chondra B., Chicago
A: Lots of people wake up feeling grumpy at least a couple of days a week. In fact, one shower company in Great Britain did a survey and found that six out of 10 Brits wake up in a bad mood. The shower company's solution? Take a shower!
Well, we agree, but to maintain that good mood throughout the morning — and the day that follows — you need to provide your body with the nutrition it needs to smoothly regulate your hormones, gut function and brain power. That means eating a nutritious breakfast. Your best bet is to put together a protein- and fiber-filled first meal of the day.
A great choice is oatmeal, muesli or granola (100% whole grains) with nonfat yogurt and lots of strawberries, blueberries and/or raspberries. Whole grains digest slowly and steadily raise levels of your feel-good hormone serotonin. They also help to keep your blood sugar stable, which improves mood.
Fresh berries deliver polyphenols, which can help you moderate your stress response and improve heart health. For variety, you can try grapefruit, oranges and melons (honeydew and cantaloupe).
Low-fat yogurt can deliver about a third of your daily requirement for calcium, which is good for your blood pressure and (along with magnesium) can have an anti-anxiety effect.
To mix up your morning menu, you might also try these foods that deliver mood-enhancing benefits: whole-wheat avocado toast; an egg-white omelet with vegetables; a green smoothie; or almond oatmeal. All those recipes and more are available at sharecare.com or doctoroz.com.
Other mood enhancers: Go to bed an hour earlier and get up an hour earlier. Get plenty of physical activity (sex counts); that'll stimulate the release of oxytocin, which increases your happiness. All these choices may help you see a turnaround in your morning mood.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at [email protected]
(c)2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.