Smoking has terrible effects on health and quitting is a step towards a healthier lifestyle. Quitting cigarettes cold turkey isn’t easy, and many smokers find it better to ease the transition to a smoke-free life with a cessation tool such as vaping. Despite having a different chemical makeup than cigarettes, nicotine addiction from vaping is a bigger problem than you think.
What is Vaping?
Vaping has become a popular alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. People use vapes, also called e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems, to smoke an aerosol containing nicotine, flavor, and various chemicals. These battery-powered devices consist of a cartridge filled with a liquid solution that is heated by an atomizer and inhaled through a mouthpiece.
When vapes first came on the market in the early 2000s many traditional smokers saw vaping as a healthier alternative to cigarettes. The level of nicotine contained within the liquid solution varies in percentage, which caused many people to see vaping as a tool to quitting smoking. Despite the fact that vapes lack many of the chemicals and substances contained in traditional cigarettes, they still contain the addictive substance nicotine.
Nicotine is highly addictive. When inhaled, nicotine is absorbed into the blood and affects the brain within 10 seconds. The relationship between the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) and its receptors is interrupted when nicotine is in the blood. ACh is related to muscle contraction, memory, and cognition. Nicotine attaches to ACh receptors and causes chemical reactions in the brain that result in feel-good sensations such as relaxation, focus, calm, and euphoria. These feelings last for several minutes until the body filters out the substances. Within two hours of consuming nicotine, half of it will have been filtered out.
The short-lived effects of nicotine make the substance so addictive. People feel that they need to re-dose shortly after the feel-good sensations subside, thus creating a cycle of addiction. No matter if nicotine is delivered into the bloodstream via vape or traditional cigarettes, the level of dopamine production in the brain increases. People are motivated to continue smoking to achieve the same high levels of dopamine.
It’s not just nicotine that makes vapes addictive. Environmental and social factors, as well as mental health and coping mechanisms, all play a role in addiction. The cravings that come from addiction are both physical and mental. For example, advertisements for a smoking product, like vapes, trigger an internal desire to get nicotine. Perhaps a person sitting outside feels a craving for a post-meal smoke in a social setting, or associates having a drink with smoking. Emotions play a large role in addiction. If someone associates the euphoric effects of vaping with feeling better when sad or stressed, vaping becomes a coping mechanism and a default action during times of negative emotions.
Not all addiction centers are created equal. At the Canadian Centre for Addictions, their team of addiction counselors and therapists create a customized program to fit individual needs. The Centre believes that a successful addiction recovery means integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of a person’s life. An alcohol and drug-free lifestyle are promoted at the Canadian Centre for Addictions through individual and group therapy, meditation, physical exercise, and outdoor activities.
Vaping and Health
Vaping is bad for the lungs and heart. Nicotine addiction causes cravings, and when these cravings are ignored, a person will experience withdrawal symptoms. This toxic substance raises blood pressure and spikes the adrenaline. These effects cause an increased heart rate and likeliness of experiencing a heart attack. There is still much to be learned about the effects of vaping on health, but there is a link between the use of vapes and cigarettes with cardiovascular disease, as well as chronic lung disease and asthma. Ironically, many smokers take up vaping as a cessation tool but end up continuing to smoke vapes and cigarettes.
Vaping injury can happen if the batteries of a device catch fire or explode. Such a default can cause severe burns or death, things that are not advertised in marketing campaigns. Gregory J. Cannata Law & Associates, LLP has the experience and resources to successfully advocate client cases involving injuries and lung disease caused by vaping.