By: Maryellen Van Atter
E-cigarette devices, such as the Juul, are more prevalent than ever. These devices were originally created to help established smokers stop smoking traditional cigarettes. However, because of their ease of use, portability, and sweet taste/smell, they have become popular with a generation of teens who have never smoked traditional cigarettes. This is concerning because of the plethora of health concerns surrounding the devices. They still contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nicotine is shown to raise blood pressure and spike adrenaline and heartrate, which can lead to increased risk of heart attack. Vaping has been linked to severe respiratory illnesses, and it may be related to pulmonary disease. It can worsen asthma, cause nausea, and irritate the mouth and throat.
While these physical health effects are often discussed, there is less discussion about the mental effects of nicotine addiction. Those who smoke have a lifetime prevalence of major depressive disorder which is more than double the prevalence in those who do not smoke. Some research has gone even farther and said that smoking may change neurotransmitter activity in the brain, leading to increased risk of depression. Despite this, the devices are still popular. While it is possible to vape something that does not contain nicotine, it is uncommon and teens often are not entirely aware of what is in what they are inhaling.
The percentage of teens that vape is increasing. Studies have found that 42.5% of high school seniors report vaping in their lifetime; this is dangerous behavior. However, it is important to remember that blame is unhelpful in helping a teen to kick their vaping habit. Similarly, reminding a teen about the risk of cancer and family addiction histories is not an effective way to get them to quit. Teens will respond best to calm conversations and discussions about how their vaping may be affecting them and the things that they consider important, such as school, extracurriculars, and sleep. Helping someone stop smoking is no easy job and it is not something that has to be done alone.
Addiction is a serious mental health concern and the sooner addiction can be treated, the better. There are both psychological and physical symptoms associated with addiction. There are many effective, FDA approved treatments for smoking cessation. These treatments include hypnotherapy, which uses guided relaxation and focused attention to change behaviors, cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to discover the root of behaviors and works to change attitudes surrounding the behavior, psychotherapy, or talk therapy, and motivational interviewing, which aims to illuminate differences between a patient’s goals and their behaviors. There is no shame in seeking out therapy to assist in quitting smoking or helping a loved one quit smoking, and it is best to seek help as soon as the problem is recognized. The longer one waits, the more established addictive behaviors become.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a vaping addiction, Arista Counseling and Psychotherapy can help. Please contact us in Paramus, NJ at 201-368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY at 212-996-3939 to arrange an appointment. For more information about our services, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/