A decade ago, vaping was practically unheard of. you could buy vaporizers in many shapes and sizes, but they weren’t very portable, they weren’t cheap. Fast forward a few years and they were all the rage, with everyone vaping. But is vaping addictive, are those users putting their health at risk and if so, just what are the dangers of using a vape?
Is Vaping Addictive?
Yes! E-Liquids contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive drug that we’ve already discussed at length here on Addictive Addiction. Some liquids contain it in smaller doses, some contain none of it at all, but for many users the main reason they vape is to get that nicotine fix and that fix comes with all the side effects and health warnings that nicotine addiction brings.
Vaping vs Cigarettes: Which is Healthier?
While vaping liquids and cigarettes both contain nicotine, the latter is more dangerous than the former. Cigarettes contain a wealth of chemicals that can harm your body, chemicals that can lead to cancer and can also trigger abnormalities in the lungs, liver and throat. However, while vaping liquids are a little healthier, they are far from healthy.
Vaping has been linked to many potential side effects not associated with the nicotine content. In fact, when it comes to the immune system, vaping is actually worse than cigarettes. Both of these substances inhibit the immune system, suppressing genes and stopping them from functioning at optimal capacity, but while the genes suppressed by cigarettes number over 50, the ones suppressed by vaping number over 350.
Can Vaping Addiction Kill?
In extreme cases, vaping can cause pneumonia and excessive vaping is known to have caused several deaths in the old and/or vulnerable. It can also cause shortness of breath, irritation, insomnia and palpitations, although these symptoms are related to the nicotine content and not the additional chemicals.
Am I Addicted to Vaping?
Vaping addiction is just like nicotine addiction and will present in the same way. Take a look at our pages on cigars vs cigarettes, nicotine withdrawal and the above linked pages on nicotine addiction to learn more about this. Simply put, you will have heavy cravings and will feel anxious, frustrated and short-tempered.
Cravings are common with many physical and psychological addictions but just because you feel like you want to vape doesn’t mean you’re craving it and it definitely doesn’t mean you’re addicted to it. However, if those cravings are intense to the point that you can’t think about anything else, you’re agitated to the point of distress and you can’t focus on anything, then there’s a good chance you are addicted.
Withdrawing from vaping addiction should be quick and relatively unpleasant, especially when compared to opiate based drugs like codeine. It’s quick, and while it’s not pleasant, it’s usually over before it causes any real stress.
Speaking of opiates, some people recommend vaping as a way to get over the withdrawal that they provide. It can also be used to help you through marijuana withdrawal. In the first instance they will give you something to do, keeping you busy while you wait for the torture of withdrawals to pass. In the second instance they replicate the feeling of smoking a joint and they do so in a way that still provides you with a noticeable physical and psychological effect, which can go someway to replacing the marijuana.
Of course, using vaping to help with any addiction could simply end up replacing an old addiction for a new one. If you’ve never smoked before you may also be more susceptible to nausea and dizziness. However, if used carefully and in moderation, and if it’s used as a replacement, then it could be effective.
Getting Through Vaping Addiction
The CDC stated that there is reason to believe nicotine is as addictive as coke, heroin and other highly addictive drugs and this was quoted by many more sites and many editors as being fact. It’s something that smokers will also attest to, but if you ask anyone who has been through an addiction to opiates, coke or alcohol and has also been addicted to nicotine, they’ll give you a different story.
The CDC quote is simply taken out of context. In the sense that nicotine addiction can develop quickly and can lead to strong cravings, it is as strong as the aforementioned drugs. However, when it comes to withdrawals and detox, to the actual act of cessation and sobriety, there is no comparison. All addictions are hard, as are all withdrawals. But it’s hard to compare something that will make you angrier and more frustrated for 2 or 3 days to something that will make you sick to your very bones for 2 weeks.
Why is Vaping Dangerous?
The main reason vaping is dangerous is because you’re inhaling a foreign substance into your lungs, exposing them to bacteria and to dangerous chemicals on a regular basis. You are depriving your lungs of oxygen and filling them with toxic chemicals and you’re doing this on a regular basis.
The act of burning a substance, be it a leaf or a liquid, releases a host of carcinogenic compounds and while these are considerably higher in tobacco, they are still present in vaping liquids.
The Damage Vaping Addiction has Done
Once it hit the mainstream, vaping stopped simply being a way for smokers to stop smoking cigarettes and it became a trend in its own right. These days there are many people, young and old, taking up vaping even though they have never smoked cigarettes and probably never will. This is a problem.
In simple terms, people are vaping because they think it’s cool, harmless and fun, even though we’re now realizing that it’s probably not as harmless as once thought. It was the same with tobacco several decades ago. Fortunately, the gap between everyone thinking vaping is cool and understanding it is dangerous was nowhere near as long as it was with tobacco, but it’s still drawn many users in and it has caused many issues as a result.
It is possible to vape without issue and to make this a relatively harmless past-time. Everything is okay in moderation after all. But in this case no consumption is better than moderate consumption, while excessive use can be very serious indeed.