Addressing the Inevitable Harms of Vaping

Over the last several years, vaping, particularly the use of e-cigarettes, has become one of the most popular forms of substance use among adolescents and young adults. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “E-cigarette use among youth remains a top concern for the FDA.” This is due to the health and social consequences it can bring to an individual’s life. Results from the 2022 Annual National Youth Tobacco Survey showed that nearly 14.1% of high school students regularly engaged in e-cigarette use, with the prevalence of use increasing with age. Thus, it is now more important than ever to discuss the harms of vaping and to promote treatment and recovery for those who are struggling with vaping.

At 12 South Recovery, we know that many people who vape consider it to be a less-harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes. However, we have seen that vaping and vaping addictions wreak havoc on the lives of many. Fortunately, we offer a wide range of therapeutic modalities and treatment programs to help individuals uncover and overcome the root cause of their substance use. The root causes of vaping often include self-medicating trauma, anxiety, and other emotional distress. Moreover, we offer the professional guidance and support that individuals need to effectively cease vaping in the long run.

What Is Vaping?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), vaping devices such as e-cigarettes are “battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings, and other chemicals.” While there are many different types of vaping devices, they tend to all operate similarly.

NIDA highlights the main four components of most e-cigarette devices:

  • Cartridge or reservoir or pod, which holds a liquid solution (e-liquid or e-juice) containing varying amounts of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals
  • Heating element (atomizer)
  • Power source (usually a battery)
  • Mouthpiece that the person uses to inhale

The device works by vaporizing the liquid in the cartridge with the heating element connected to the main power source. When an individual “puffs” or breathes in, the heating element is activated. From there, the user inhales the aerosol or vapor.

While most vaping devices contain nicotine, many also contain other substances, such as liquid marijuana. Additionally, due to the often discrete packaging and models of vaping devices, many adolescents may vape without getting “caught” by parents, siblings, friends, and other guardians. These added factors can make vaping even more problematic, as many youths may develop secret addictions that can interfere with their ability to function normally in their daily lives.

The Harms of Vaping on Health

Despite what some individuals may believe, there are unavoidable health consequences of vaping. First and foremost, NIDA explains that when nicotine and other substances in e-cigarettes are inhaled, they are absorbed into the lungs and move directly into the bloodstream. Nicotine, specifically, stimulates the adrenal glands and the production of the hormone epinephrine, more commonly referred to as adrenaline. As a result, the central nervous system becomes activated. Adrenaline also causes an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate.

Tying into this, a press release by the National Institute of Health (NIH) explains that the “Long-term use of electronic cigarettes, or vaping products, can significantly impair the function of the body’s blood vessels, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease.” Vaping also increases an individual’s risk of developing breathing issues like asthma, lung damage, and lung disease. Additionally, vaping increases the risk of heart attacks or death from blood clots.

What’s more, it is essential to note the effects and harms of vaping on the brain. Nicotine and marijuana both interfere with the healthy development of the brain, specifically the brain’s reward system. Due to the pleasurable effects of vaping nicotine and marijuana, recurrent vaping may not only inform vaping addiction but can also act as a gateway to the use of other, more harmful drugs. Moreover, as the brain continues to grow and mature until the mid to late 20s, adolescents, teens, and young adults are at an increased risk of developing lasting cognitive consequences as a result of recurrent vaping.

Effectively Ceasing Vaping With 12 South Recovery

Those who are struggling with recurrent vaping behaviors can benefit from participating in a professional treatment program. At 12 South Recovery, we offer evidence-based and holistic treatment modalities to aid in the cessation of harmful substance addictions, including vaping. Upon arrival to our facility, we also screen our clients for co-occurring mental health disorders to ensure that all conditions are tended to during treatment.

Some of the therapies we offer include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Relapse prevention
  • Adventure therapy
  • Holistic therapies like reiki, breathwork, and massage therapy
  • Family therapy

Meanwhile, we individualize our client care to ensure that each client’s needs and recovery goals are properly met during treatment and throughout long-term recovery. Vaping should not be considered a less harmful alternative to smoking. Rather, vaping must be acknowledged as yet another form of substance use that can quickly inform addiction. Fortunately, individuals can heal from vaping and its consequences with the help of our professionals at 12 South Recovery.

Vaping has become one of the most popular substance use trends among not only adults but adolescents and teens as well. If you or someone you love vapes, it is only a matter of time before recurrent use develops into a chronic addiction. Recognizing the harms of vaping – such as cognitive impairments and increased risks of health ailments and diseases –  can serve as encouragement for you and your loved ones to cease vaping long-term. At 12 South Recovery, we offer a plethora of therapeutic modalities to help individuals effectively establish and maintain sobriety from all types of substance addictions. Learn more about our treatment programs by calling (888) 830-8374 today. 

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