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In recent years there has been a significant spread of false information regarding e-cigarette usage and its impact on health. Unfortunately, this misinformation has particularly harmed young people, many of whom were led to believe that vaping is a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.
While e-cigarettes may not contain tobacco, they still contain nicotine, making them highly addictive. They also contain other chemicals that can harm the brain and lungs. In some cases, this practice can even be fatal. It is critical to recognize the dangers of vaping and spread awareness so that this practice does not result in any more unnecessary deaths. If you are addicted to vaping, you are not alone, and there is help available.
Understanding the Dangers of Vaping
It is essential to be able to recognize the detrimental effects that vaping can have on both mental and physical health. Some dangers include:
- Brain development: Your brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. Vaping can impact brain development, making it especially dangerous for teens and young adults.
- Disease: Vaping has the potential to lead to lung disease, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.
- Immunity: Vaping can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. This is particularly dangerous today in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Brain alterations: Nicotine found in e-cigarette pods can impact areas of the brain that help regulate your mood and enable you to learn and control your impulses.
- Memory loss: Vaping can impact the brain’s ability to make new memories.
- Increased nicotine: In many cases, the nicotine content in e-cigarettes is much higher than the traditional cigarette.
Recognizing a Nicotine Addiction
Anyone can become addicted to nicotine, regardless of background, gender, or age. If you think you may be struggling with an addiction to vaping, there are some questions you should ask yourself and try to answer as honestly as possible.
- Do you continue to vape even though it is affecting you in some negative way? For example, is your vaping directly harming your relationships, decreasing your productivity levels, or causing you financial strain?
- Do you ever feel angry or irritable when you want to vape but are not in a position where you can?
- Have you tried to cut back on vaping or quit entirely but failed to do so?
- Do you experience frequent mood swings as a result of vaping?
- Has vaping gotten you in trouble either at school or work?
- Do you use vaping to relieve stress or cope with anxiety or depression?
- Do you have a fear of running out of e-cigarette cartridges or not having access to your vape?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be struggling with an addiction to nicotine. Fortunately, you are not the first person to experience this battle. There is help available, and you can quit for good.
Treating a Nicotine Addiction
When you quit vaping, you will experience some withdrawal side effects that you should be prepared for. These can vary from person to person and typically begin to fade after two to four weeks. Some common withdrawal signs include:
- Difficulty focusing
- Feeling groggy
- Feeling jittery
- Intense cravings
Luckily, there are some things you can do to manage these symptoms. First, you should consider speaking to your doctor. They can assist during this time. You will also want to ensure that you are trying the following tips:
- Drink lots of water. If you are not hydrated, your withdrawal symptoms can become more intense. You may find yourself struggling with fatigue and hunger.
- Practice healthy coping skills. Some positive coping mechanisms for stress include meditation, exercise, yoga, or journaling.
- Get plenty of sleep every night. This will help prevent you from feeling groggy throughout the day.
- Eat wholesome food. Eating plenty of nutritious snacks and ensuring you have them on hand is vital to a healthy mind and body. Nicotine withdrawal can make you feel hungry. Plus, having healthy snacks available can keep your hands busy.
- Do your best to avoid boredom. It is common to vape as a way of combatting boredom, so you will want to find additional ways to stay busy.
- Don’t be afraid to reach out to loved ones. Not only can friends and family offer a listening ear when you need to vent about how you are feeling, but they can help hold you accountable.
- Dispose of all vapes and accessories. Be sure to throw out any vaping paraphernalia that you might have. You do not want to stumble upon it and be reminded of vaping or feel tempted to start vaping again.
Unfortunately, vaping is a common and serious nationwide problem, affecting many, especially young people. Despite how it is marketed, e-cigarette usage is not safe and can lead to many detrimental side effects on one’s mental and physical health. Not only can it lead to addiction, but it can lead to lung disease, asthma, and cardiovascular disease. It can also weaken one’s immune system and hinder brain development. If you’re struggling with nicotine addiction, consider reaching out to your doctor. They can help you through the quitting process. During this time, you’ll also want to make sure that you stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious snacks, and avoid boredom while staying connected with friends and family. If you’re struggling with nicotine use, The Kimberly Center is here to help. Call (855) 452-3683 today to learn more about how we can help you take control back from nicotine.