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What are E-Cigarettes or Vapes?
E-cigarettes or vapes are electronic cigarettes, which are battery operated nicotine delivery devices. These devices are used by people who inhale an aerosol, which consists of nicotine (usually), flavorings, and other chemicals. There are more than 460 current e-cigarette brands on the market, the most popular being Juul™, Joyetech, Suorin Air Pod, Blu eCigs, NJOY, KangerTech, ELeaf, Smok Tech, etc. The different types of E-cigarettes or vapes include: electronic cigarettes, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, mods, and electronic cigars.
E-Cigarettes, or vapes, are growing in popularity across the United States— especially for young adults. E-cigarettes are being used by an estimated 1 out of 20 Americans. We know that cigarettes have extreme health consequences, and often times e-cigarettes are seen as a healthy alternative to traditional smoking; but how much do we know about the effects of e-cigarettes on the body?
How Do They Work?
E-Cigarettes have four different components:
•A cartridge— holds a liquid solution, which is the flavoring, nicotine and chemicals which will be vaporized into the smoke
•A heating element— the heating element is called an atomizer
•A power source— usually a battery, which may be rechargeable or not
•A mouthpiece— this is where the user will inhale the vaporized liquid from
Once the user puffs from the device, the battery-powered heating will activate— vaporizing the liquid in the cartridge which the user then inhales. The user is then able to exhale smoke.
E-cigarettes have e-liquid or vape “juice”, “e-juice”, etc. This is the liquid which is added into the device’s cartridge to be vaporized. Vape juice comes in an endless variety of flavors, including: cream and custard flavors, candy flavors, tobacco flavors, menthol and mint flavors, desserts and breakfast flavors, vanilla flavors, beverage flavors, etc. E-cigarette juice can also come in flavors that are unknown just by reading the names. Some examples of crazier flavors are some of the vape juice products from Vape Wild, with flavors like: Cowboy Cooler, Double Rainbow, Wrecking Ball, Tiger’s Blood, Hooch, Slo-Mo, Wrangler, and Pink Elephant.
Do E-Cigs Help You Quit Cigarettes?
Many claim that they use e-cigarettes or vapes to quit traditional smoking. Some people believe e-cigs can help lower nicotine levels in an effective manner, to diminish cravings and move adult smokers off of cigarettes. With adjustable nicotine level liquids for vapes, this is a possibility, however, e-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved quit aid. The Food and Drug Administration have approved seven quit aids that are proven to be safe and effective when used as directed.
Research suggests that smoking vapes can even “prime the brain’s reward system, putting vapers at risk for addiction to other drugs.” Despite vapes and e-cigarettes being a somewhat “healthier” option in comparison to cigarettes, e-cigs still expose the lungs to a wide range of chemicals. A study of some e-cigarette products revealed that the vapor contains known carcinogens, toxic chemicals, and toxic metal particles from the device itself. The same study also reported that liquids for e-cigarettes had high levels of nickel and chromium. Also, e-cigarettes may also contain a toxic metal called cadmium, which can cause breathing problems and disease.
New research reports from the American College of Cardiology’s 68th Annual Scientific Session states that adults who use e-cigarettes or vape, are much more likely to have a heart attack, coronary artery disease, and depression compared to those who don’t use e-cigarettes or any tobacco products. We need to conduct more research to get a full picture of the effect on people who smoke e-cigarettes, to find out the short term and long term effects at a more in-depth level.
The Danger for Addictive Personalities
The nicotine in the liquid of e-cigarettes is absorbed from the lungs into the bloodstream. Upon entering the blood, nicotine stimulates the adrenal glands to release the hormone epinephrine or adrenaline. Adrenaline stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. Nicotine increases levels of a chemical messenger in the brain, called dopamine, which is the same chemical that is released during drug use— and this chemical being released, reinforces “rewarding” behaviors. For the fact that e-cigarettes stimulate the same pleasure circuit in the brain that drugs or alcohol stimulated, those with addictive personalities can easily become addicted to e-cigarettes or vaping. Addictive behavior can manifest itself with a user inhaling from their vape every few minutes or so. Developing an addiction to an e-cigarette is just the beginning, especially for users who never smoked regular cigarettes but now are using an electronic nicotine delivery system.
The danger for those with addictive personalities are endless and many long term effects are left unknown. With little research to prove that smoking e-cigarettes are a healthy alternative to smoking cigarettes, users don’t know what they are getting themselves into when they buy an e-cigarette like a Juul™ or a vape. Personality traits can influence the way that you use an e-cigarette or vape, and with addictive use of this device the user may face serious health consequences.
Our Treatment Programs
At Royal Life Centers, we offer comprehensive addiction treatment, with programs and services that are designed to guide guests through the stages of the recovery process. We offer treatment options to address substance abuse, including: a medical detox program, a residential inpatient program, a partial hospitalization program (PHP), an intensive outpatient program (IOP), an outpatient program (OP), sober living and graduate housing. Royal Life Centers also provides services and guidance for family members of our guests, Because We Care. Our programs address both substance abuse and mental health, with a focus on uncovering the root cause of our guest’s alcohol or drug use. We offer group therapies in addition to individual therapy sessions, adventure therapy, activity therapy, and equine therapy. In group therapy, guests will be able to discuss topics like grief and loss or how to prevent a relapse. Guests will feel an overwhelming sense of understanding and support, in a safe space meant for honest and open dialogues.
Chaffee BW, Watkins SL, Glantz SA. Electronic Cigarette Use and Progression From Experimentation to Established Smoking. Pediatrics. March 2018:e20173594. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-3594
Products C for T. Products, Ingredients & Components – Vaporizers, E-Cigarettes, and other Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS). https://www.fda.gov/TobaccoProducts/Labeling/ProductsIngredientsComponents/ucm456610.htm. Accessed April 17, 2017.
Villanti AC, Johnson AL, Ambrose BK, et al. Flavored Tobacco Product Use in Youth and Adults: Findings From the First Wave of the PATH Study (2013-2014). Am J Prev Med. March 2017. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.026
Weaver SR, Huang J, Pechacek TF, Heath JW, Ashley DL, Eriksen MP. Are electronic nicotine delivery systems helping cigarette smokers quit? Evidence from a prospective cohort study of U.S. adult smokers, 2015–2016. PLOS ONE. 2018;13(7):e0198047. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0198047
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our addiction specialists at (877)-RECOVERY or (877)-732-6837. Our team is available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because We Care.