Cigarette smoking is dangerous and that’s not a big secret anymore. In fact, explicit graphic warnings accompany tobacco packaging for sale, enough to scare first-time cigarette smokers from trying out their first puff. In 2018, the number of high school students who smoke cigarettes considerably declined, with only less than 1 in 25 student smoking daily. This is very low compared to forty years ago when nearly 30 percent of high school students were using cigarettes. However, with this decline, another habit saw a meteoric rise during the same year – vaping.
According to statistics, around 3.6 million Americans are vaping and there was a 78% increase in the number of teens vaping in 2018 compared to the past year. Vaping is the act of inhaling vapors using an electronic device such as a vape pen or e-cigarette. The device has a heating component to warm up a liquid cartridge that will then release the vapor or aerosol being inhaled. There are many different types of vaping devices available in the market but the most popular brand nowadays is the JUUL, which controls more than 70% of the e-cigarette market. The JUUL e-cigarette became so popular that the term “juuling” was coined to refer to the act of vaping using this device.
With so many people hooked on vaping, one commonly asked question is whether vaping is addictive. Is it as addictive as a tobacco cigarette? How dangerous is vaping to the body?
Addicted to Vaping: The Hows and Whys
One typical excuse of vapers is that vaping is harmless because they are only inhaling flavored water vapor – wrong! A recent study revealed that 63% of JUUL users were not aware that the products always contain nicotine. Unless it specifically indicates that it is nicotine-free, the reality is 99% of the vaping products in the market have nicotine. Yes, this is the same nicotine found in tobacco cigarettes that can be addictive and, believe it or not, one vape pod is nearly equal to a pack of cigarettes.
Another factor that makes vaping addictive is that it is habit-forming. Just like any other activity, whether positive or negative, if you do it repeatedly, it becomes a part of your daily routine and you just unthinkingly do it until you develop physical and psychological dependence on that habit. Vaping simulates the act of smoking a cigarette, which is the reason why it is an effective alternative for those who want to quit smoking. However, for first-time users who are not necessarily cigarette smokers, this could become the start of a long-term habit.
A lot of people who first try out smoking do it because of peer pressure or the need to fit into a social group. With vaping, the pull becomes more attractive, especially as many users find juuling “Instagram-cool”. It is also much easier to vape than to smoke because most parents do not really recognize that the USB looking device actually holds nicotine. There is also no typical tobacco smell when vaping plus, the fruity and candy-like flavors make vaping more palatable to those who don’t prefer the taste of tobacco.
Vaping Addiction: Danger Alert
When e-cigarettes first entered the market, they were marketed as a “healthier” alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Instead of consuming multiple packs a day, companies proposed that switching to an electronic-powered device is a less harmful choice that may just save a life. However, while vaping may be the lesser evil as compared to cigarette smoking, it does not necessarily mean that it is 100% safe.
Many people do not realize that the chemicals that are mixed with the vapor they are inhaling can also be harmful. The nicotine in vaping devices has been associated with increased cancer risks as well as negative effects on a person’s metabolism, respiratory and overall health. Aside from nicotine, the vapor usually contains other toxic chemicals that have been linked to lung ailments, cancer, and heart disease.
The increasing number of teens vaping should also be an utmost concern. Any exposure to nicotine is very risky, especially at their age when the brain is still developing. The risk of being addicted is much higher and it may be more difficult to quit the habit. For first-time users, vaping could even become a gateway to other drugs like the use of alcohol, marijuana, and other more dangerous narcotics like opioids, Xanax, LSD, and more.
How To Quit Vaping
Just like smoking, it is not that easy just to quit vaping cold turkey especially if you’ve been doing it for a longer time. Any habit is difficult to break and this can be challenging especially for young people who want to quit. If you are a parent, having a child addicted to vaping can be a very trying situation especially if it is already affecting their overall lifestyle and well being.
You do not have to deal with this alone. Help is available today.
Contact Lighthouse Treatment Center to learn more about our different modes of treatment.