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E-Cigarettes And Vaping: The New Teen Addiction Concern!

E-Cigarettes And Vaping: The New Teen Addiction Concern!When e-cigarettes first came out, they were created to serve two primary purposes:

1) to wean smokers off of nicotine and reduce the harmful damages of smoking to the body of the smoker, and those around the smoker, 2) to allow smokers to come in from out of the cold, and be able to smoke indoors without polluting the environment with second hand smoke. Some people, depending on who you ask (smokers and e-cigarette manufacturers) would say that this modernized form of smoking achieves these two goals, while others would assert that puffing on vapors is the latest ‘smoke and mirror’ illusion to sell people on the ‘healthier’ benefits of smoking.

For those who are not that knowledgeable about e-cigarettes, also known as ‘vapors’, these cigarette substitutes are battery-powered devices made to look like cigarettes, some more colorful than others, which vaporizes a liquid nicotine solution with a heating element. An odorless water vapor is inhaled from the device, and voilà, instant nicotine into the lungs!

I am not going to discuss all of the harmful effects of nicotine, as that would be a monumental and eye-opening blog in itself as well as redundant. With that said, nicotine is highly addictive and very harmful! So, if someone is trying to wean them self off of a highly addictive substance, what are the guidelines, dosages, time frames etc. for showing that this product is indeed successful? Is this meant to be a ‘harm reduction’ strategy, another concept used in the field of treatment for addictions, namely heroin and narcotics? Is there a manual or ‘vapors’ counselor/coach one can call to ask, and what makes them highly skilled or trained to share their expertise?

I have written for mental health and addictions forums, and have lectured and written about addictions for over 20 years. I have also treated and helped people quit smoking through hypnosis, which I can say I have found to be roughly 70-75% successful in my own practice. Many who have tried to quit smoking through weaning themselves off of nicotine have also done so using nicotine gum or nicotine patches, which regulates nicotine and it’s delivery in that smaller amounts are released in the bloodstream. This is ideal because you want to reduce the dependency on the substance ‘nicotine’. Interestingly, e-cigarettes rely more on ‘freebasing’ which means heating the substance. When heated, the nicotine is more readily transferred to the lungs, and then eventually the heart and brain in more intense doses–this means the nicotine high and fix is stronger, and if this is the case, it means that it is more addictive!

Now for the main premise of this article, teens and vaping!

Apparently, this is the ‘in-thing’ for many teens now. Ironically, smoking isn’t as cool as vaping. How ironic! Vaping for many teens and young adults is like having coffee and socializing. They don’t see the harm in it, that is the addictive harm that is not only creating an addiction to vaping (nicotine), which may have just started out as a casual activity, but also something that is fostering a dependence upon it because too many young people are building up a tolerance to it. What is even more disturbing is that since it is being presented as a healthier alternative to smoking, adults who are engaging in it (who believe it is not harmful) are also allowing their teens to ‘vape’ because they do not perceive it as being overly harmful. Are you kidding me?

I came across a study in  Journal of Addictive Behaviors that found that a large majority of people who used vapors to try and quit smoking actually became addicted to the e-cigarettes, while some actually went back to smoking regular cigarettes. So much for it being used for harm reduction successes! The scary part is when teens and young adults start out using vapes not because they want to quit smoking by weaning off of them, but rather to ‘socialize and look cool’, they are more likely to evolve into becoming old school addicted cigarette smokers. Hey wait! Isn’t this why e-cigarettes were created in the first place? The moral of the story is similar to the pig analogy–no matter how much lip stick, eye shadow or pretty dresses you put on a pig, it is still a pig. If you prefer ducks, then if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, or tastes like a duck, then it is a duck folks. So…if nicotine is highly addictive no matter what form it comes in–cigarette, cigar, pipe, e-cigarette/vapor, chew tobacco, guess what? It doesn’t care how you present it, even in wonderful colored packaging and devices, it is still going to get you hooked because it is a substance and kids, teens, young adults and everybody needs to know this, especially if they are just curious in trying it. Here is a secret I have taught in books, lectures and on radio/television shows–every addiction started out because someone was curious to ‘just try it’! Sound familiar?


Read more posts by JenningsWire Blogger Peter Sacco, an international lecturer on psychology/self-help related topics.

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