Can Vaping Lead to Addiction?
E-cigarettes haven’t been around that long, which often raises big questions about whether or not they are any safer, or less addictive, than other substances. Is addiction still possible, even without tobacco smoke?
First, why is smoking traditional cigarette so addictive?
Before we can get into what vaping is and whether or not it can lead to addiction, we first need to explain why traditional smoking is a problem, since they both have a common denominator.
Why is it so hard for smokers to quit, even when they know their habit is harmful to their short- and long-term health? According to the American Heart Association, cigarettes are addictive, which is why simply telling someone they should quit isn’t always the most effective strategy.
- Cigarettes are addictive because they contain the extremely addictive chemical called nicotine. Nicotine is found naturally in tobacco.
- Nicotine travels straight to the brain and causes feelings of relaxation, stress relief and elation. It also increases heart rate. It makes people feel better, temporarily, which is why those addicted to smoking often reach for a cigarette when they are stressed or upset.
- Once you are addicted to nicotine, trying to stop makes you crave it more.
Some believe that the introduction of e-cigarettes, which do not contain tobacco, presents a much healthier option for people who tend to smoke out of habit. This is not necessarily the case, regardless of the fact that e-cigarettes contain far fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes do.
What is vaping, exactly?
Smoking an e-cigarette has the appeal of doing away with tobacco smoke. E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco at all. Instead, they contain a liquid that is inserted into a device through a replaceable cartridge and heated. The vapor produced from heating that liquid, similar to inhaling cigarette smoke, is inhaled – otherwise known as “vaping.”
Is vaping as addictive as smoking cigarettes?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, vaping and the use of e-cigarettes can be just as addicting as smoking a traditional cigarette.
- The specific effects of vaping are not yet known because a sufficient amount of research has not yet been completed.
- When you hear that vaping has no known harmful affects on the body, it’s because we haven’t studied them yet, not because they do not exist.
- E-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which is the same addictive chemical that exists in traditional cigarettes. Again, we have yet to study in depth how vaping a substance containing nicotine might differ from traditional smoking, but it is still the same highly addictive chemical.
Why do e-cigs still contain nicotine? This is the chemical that is extracted from tobacco and mixed with other substances to create the “liquid” that devices heat to release the vapor that users then inhale. You’re not just inhaling flavored water vapor, unfortunately. Instead, that liquid contains plenty of potentially addictive, and harmful, chemicals.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, vaping and the use of e-cigarettes can be just as addicting as smoking a traditional cigarette.Click to tweet
Because more research is on the way, experts continue to be skeptical of the use of vaping as a replacement for traditional cigarette smoking.
- Nicotine might actually lead to becoming addicted to other potentially harmful substances.
- Vaping is sometimes considered a possible “gateway habit” that might encourage those who have never smoked traditional cigarettes before to start.
- There is not yet any proof that using e-cigarettes is any less harmful than traditional smoking. However, lack of evidence to discourage the practice does not mean it is encouraged.
- Nicotine is nicotine and can still potentially lead to addiction, even when inhaled while vaping.
Keep an eye out for more research as science continues to explore the various ways vaping compares to traditional smoking. Find out if you have an addiction.