Negative Health Effects of Nicotine, Cigarettes, and Vaping
Vaping was once marketed as a risk-free alternative to smoking. This is, simply put, a falsehood. Aside from the widespread prevalence of the mysterious ‘vaping illness’ in 2019, users of vapes face negative consequences to the heart, lungs, and circulatory systems. Long-term vape use can reduce attention span and increase irritability. Moreover, due to the intensely high concentration of nicotine introduced into the bloodstream, vaping increases the risk of seizure and stroke.
Even more concerning, the waning use of cigarettes amongst American adolescents has been nearly fully offset by the increase in vape use. In 2019, 37% of high school seniors said they had used vapes in the last twelve months, compared to 28% in 2017. As far back as 2015, the US Surgeon General noted a 900% increase in vape use amongst adolescents. There are countless frightening stories about kids going to the bathroom three times per class just to get their vape fix. There are other even more concerning stories about children going to the school nurse’s office, sickened from nicotine withdrawal.
Moreover, vapes are potentially more addictive than cigarettes. They do not have the smell of smoke and do not need to be lit with flame: users can take discrete puffs throughout the day, keeping nicotine levels elevated in their blood and increasing the risk of addiction. Moreover, vapor cartridges are expensive. They can drain a young person’s finances and can–even more concerning–lead to the use of traditional cigarettes.
Vaping addiction is a recent phenomenon, yet treatment is available to those who seek a cessation of this harmful habit. Often, underaged users of these devices can not acquire nicotine patches and gum to help adult tobacco users break their habits.
How Can Vaping Addiction Be Treated?
Through various evidence-based treatments, rehabilitation for chronic vape users is possible. Individual talk therapy, intervention and nicotine detoxification, horticultural therapy, mindfulness meditation, group therapeutics, and partial hospitalization programs are all avenues toward healing for those suffering from vape addiction.
At Chicago Rehab Center, we understand that a variety of factors–from peer pressure to the depression and anxiety affecting America’s youth at unprecedented levels–can contribute to vape use. Through our signature combination of evidence-based treatments, we can identify and address the root causes of vape addiction.
No kid should begin their adult life with the baggage of nicotine addiction. Together, we can heal both youths and adults suffering from the effects of chronic vape use.
Reviewed by Dr. Beth Dunlap
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, is the medical director at CRC Institute, where she is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at the Institute. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.