There’s a good chance you haven’t heard yet about this unusual new trend: vaping caffeine in place of your normal morning cappuccino. While it might sound like an unusual new habit, it seems to be working for at least some people. But how do you know if you should give it a try?
What is it, exactly?
Vaping caffeine works in just the same way as vaping nicotine, the traditional vice of the e-cigarette market. It can be done with the same kind of e-cigarette, too, though they aren’t identical and you won’t want to try to use the same kit for the same purpose. As with the e-cigarette, you simply fill up the canister of the e-cig with the liquid caffeine cartridge, and the e-cigarette turns it into vapor, which can be easily inhaled.
What’s the point?
This one has some people scratching their heads. The notion of vaping your morning coffee doesn’t appear to be targeting the same niche appeal that made the e-cigarette successful. The e-cigarette provides a necessary service: it’s a safer alternative to the traditional cigarette that gives people the necessary nicotine, while getting rid of lots of the harmful additives that make cigarettes so dangerous. Of course, the e-cigarette is not without health risk, as it still involves inhaling some irritant particulate matter, but it is certainly a better option than the traditional cigarette.
But this means that inhaling your caffeine instead of drinking it comes with some added risk that isn’t there when you are simply drinking coffee. The particulate matter that is not reduced to vapor can be irritating and potentially damaging when using these caffeine cartridges. This isn’t a factor in drinking your normal cup of coffee, so some may be wondering why someone would embrace this added health impact when they’re doesn’t seem to be any apparent benefit.
So what is the benefit? The main appeal seems to be twofold: first, smoking your caffeine gets it into your system more quickly than drinking it. This means that you don’t have to linger for a long time over a hot cup of coffee if you’re in a hurry to get a quick jumpstart of energy so you can get on with your day. For some, this is a drawback. Many people enjoy the experience of drinking a good cup of coffee and will not want to give up this source of pleasure in their day. However, for anyone who has ever slept through their alarm clock, it’s pretty obvious why there might be some mornings when you want a little quick extra burst of energy.
Is it safe?
When it comes to the actual act of using the vaporizer, it seems that vaping caffeine is no riskier than vaping nicotine, though we cannot just yet be sure as safety testing is still ongoing (supplements like e-cigarettes do not need to undergo FDA testing before being released to the public, a problem that has probably lead to more confusion than it’s worth on the subject of the safety of e-cigarettes. If people could simply know flat out what the health risks were, they might actually be more willing to try it out).
However, there is an added risk when it comes to vaping caffeine. While there are both benefits and risks associated with drinking coffee, the main problem with vaping caffeine comes from the very benefit of the thing: the speed with which you can get caffeine into your system when vaping. For people accustomed to drinking coffee, or even higher caffeine espresso drinks, it might not be immediately clear how much vaping caffeine is too much. With even just a few too many puffs, a user can get shaky, tingly, and/or nauseated—all common symptoms of excessive caffeine. After all, while a little bit of caffeine can be beneficial, it is in essence a poison and people need to be very careful to avoid overdoing it.
It can also be very easy for people, even when just drinking their caffeine, to get to a point where they are having too much. And once you’ve developed a relative immunity to caffeine and you start building up your doses, you put yourself at risk for a caffeine overdose, which can put you in the hospital if you aren’t careful.
The bottom-line: caffeine is one of many vices and people have the right to use and abuse it in a way that feels right for them. While most coffee drinkers are probably not going to want to give up their much-beloved morning coffee, for other people who are simply looking for a jolt of caffeine, (for example, the same type of people who might use 5-Hour Energy or Red Bull), there might be some appeal, especially as it provides a new option if you feel left out when your friends go out for a smoke.