• Carol Williard

Vaping? Don't Get Me Started!

Most teens do not even know that vapes contain nicotine. They take it up be among the cool kids, they see it as a harmless, fun fad. But too many kids are showing up in hospitals with heart and lung problems, so I want to address some of the problems doctors, teens and parents are finding.

Vaping is not as innocent as it has been marketed to be. While vapes are advertised to be safer than cigarettes, the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as such. But while the appeal to teens are based on false notions of a safer alternative to cigarettes, the marketers have positioned the appeal of e-cigarettes by being slightly lower in cost, intensely flavored, and the images of vaping do not yet carry a negative stigma.

Research already tells us that vaping is bad for the heart and lungs. It raises blood pressure, it spikes one’s adrenaline, it increases the heart rate and raises the chance of a heart attack. The chemicals that make up the vapor in e-cigarettes lead to chronic lung disease and asthma. Vaping increases cardiovascular disease, lung disease and cancer.

So let’s look more closely at what is in this “safe alternative” to tobacco. Most importantly, vapes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, as addictive as cocaine or heroine. And the most popular vaping devices have found a way to deliver that first hit of nicotine to be just as, if not more powerful as the nicotine found in strong cigarettes.

Nicotine is a stimulant as it causes the heart to beat faster. It sets off the dopamine in the brain that assoicates the satisfaction of the need for nicotine as being pleasure and thereby releases the anxiety of going without it. But as nicotine is effectively a destroyed substance, it creates a sense of lack in the body which sets off the need for more. It is a viscious cycle, and that is the nature of addiction. Smokers and vapers take a hit to get the relief of anxiety of going without. They have to smoke. They no longer have a choice!

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