Is Vaping Essential Oils Dangerous?

Many believe in the healing powers of essential oils to relieve stress or boost energy – but is it a good idea to inhale them into the lungs? The Doctors weigh in on a new trend.

“It looks like basically an e-cig,” ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork describes the essential-oil vaping device, “and a lot of people are doing this.” Urologist Dr. Jennifer Berman notes that the vaping mixtures including “natural extracts” and glycerin – “And the glycerin concerns me,” she says.

Watch: Potential Benefits of Essential Oils

“I think that whenever we glorify anything that involves smoking and say it’s good for you,” Dr. Stork adds, “I think you run the risk … Even if there was some proof that these worked, (and I’m not saying there is!), I’m going to inhale this thing to make me happy.” He’s concerned that it’s a short step from there to smoking cigarettes. “I think it’s a habit I don’t love.”

Plastic Surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon is also concerned about the risks of inhaling substances. “It could be potentially irritating, if not caustic to your upper airway and your lungs.”

Watch: E-Cigarette Nearly Kills 6-Year-Old

Dr. Stork wonders about the concentration involved. He uses an oil diffuser at home himself, to create a pleasant aroma – but he notes that the diffusers use “a couple of drops of oil, mixed with water and diffused into the room over a couple of hours.”

He does think that using the vape pen could distract someone who was anxious or depressed, which can be positive, and Dr. Berman notes that perhaps it could help a smoker quit by substituting something less harmful than nicotine.

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