There may be many reasons why youth choose to vape… the appealing flavors; to appear “cool”, “rebellious”, or “mature”; curiosity; or even peer pressure. All of these are reasons that do indeed need to be addressed in their own right; however, let’s debunk one of the most common reasons, which actually turns out to be a myth… STRESS! 😳
Vape companies like to advertise that their products help to relieve stress, but the nicotine in these vapes ultimately rewires your brain (especially that of an underdeveloped teen) and can increase feelings of stress and anxiety! The brain has billions of neurons that are connected. Each neuron has receptors on its surface that help it to communicate with other neurons to send necessary signals throughout the brain and body. Nicotine can reactivate certain receptors in your brain that respond to stress, and increase the number of them over time. In this state, when these receptors are not receiving nicotine, it provides that stressful feeling. Thus, vaping nicotine increases stress!
Now, it is true that vaping provides a temporary boost of dopamine, which is the “feel good” hormone that gives a feeling of a “high”. So, individuals that vape may believe that it is a good way to relieve stress. However, in reality, nicotine constricts blood vessels and increases heart rate–this is similar to the body’s natural stress response. Additionally, there is research that shows nicotine may also trigger cortisol production. Cortisol is a stress-response hormone that alters the immune system, suppresses the digestive system, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, and enhances the brain’s use of glucose to make you feel tense, hyper-alert, and on-edge all to function in stressful situations. Vaping nicotine regularly overexposes the body to cortisol and other stress hormones that disrupt the body’s normal processes in this way, and this can put a person at risk for anxiety and depression, among other adverse effects.
So, attempting to puff your problems away by vaping is actually producing more stress and anxiety! Also, it can put you in a vicious cycle of temporary relief, withdrawal, stress symptoms, more vaping, temporary relief, withdrawal… and you get the picture.
Check out this article from The Truth Initiative® to learn more about the effects of vaping on stress! To access the article, just click the link below!
If your child or a child you know is unable to stop vaping, please contact the child’s health care provider, school counselor, or other trusted professional to discuss ways to help them quit. You can also check out some of these resources below:
Text “QUIT” to (202) 804-9884
Text “DITCHJUUL” to 887-09
Georgia Tobacco Quitline (GTQL): 1-877-270-STOP (877-270-7867)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
The National Cancer Institute Quitline: 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848)