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E-cigarettes A Gateway Into Addiction

Updated on January 20, 2016

Nicotine addiction affects over 1.1 billion individuals world wide. Traveling through the bloodstream it arrives in the brain within 15 seconds. Cigarettes are thought to be harmful because of the chemicals used to produce them. E-cigarettes are said to have no negative consequences and help ease the user into quitting smoking and stopping nicotine consumption. Both regular and E-cigarettes contain nicotine, though with e-cig’s the nicotine level can be increased or decreased to meet the user’s needs.

Vaping is the term used when referring to the use of E-cigarettes because of the vapour that is produced. Nicotine triggers the reward centre in the brain, giving the same feeling as winning money or feeling happy. It also affects the body’s ability to function properly, weakening the immune system, creating fatigue, sleep disturbances and increasing the risk of certain diseases such as cancer. More immediate effects can be felt in the heart as it begins to beat more rapidly and blood pressure is increased, thus breathing becomes shallow and fast paced. Leading to a heart attack and other severe symptoms like stroke and lung disease. Long term use influences the brains neurotransmitters creating withdrawal symptoms. This is why a person may become agitated or depressed and lose the ability to think clearly in the weeks following a decline in nicotine.

E-cigarettes when properly used are useful tools in decreasing nicotine levels, essentially following a harm reduction model. Although it may be irrelevant to individuals who increase these levels and continue smoking along with vaping. Concern’s arise when it comes to the regulation of e-cig’s and youth. E-cigarettes can be purchased at the age of 18. This gives individuals a year of nicotine consumption, which may lead to addiction, before being legally allowed to purchase regular cigarettes at the age of 19; causing more harmful affects to the body and ingestion of cancer causing chemicals. Will this lead to a higher amount of smokers in the future? It is highly possible but only time will tell. The same goes for seeing the long term implications of vaping.

Some corner stores and retail outlets give employees commission on e-cigarettes. An incentive to boost sales, create higher profit, and move merchandise. Giving employees commission could create a relaxed attitude to e-cig regulation, only choosing to see the bottom line, a higher pay check. It is not to be confused, nicotine is a mind and mood altering substance and is sold and marketed as such. Lucky are the few that are vaping to quit and those who have adopted an abstinence based lifestyle.

Chronic inhalation from e-cigarretes is known to cause stomach upset and dehydration, dizziness, canker sores, allergic reactions and actually limit one's ability to cough. Drinking more water may prevent the dehydration though not the other side effects. Building evidence suggest that e-cigarrettes are not an effect way of quitting smoking. Psychologically an individual is still exhibiting the same patterns and mannerism's and over a period of time will probably resort back to the original smoke.

Nicotine has shown signs of being a gateway drug leading to marijuana and cocaine use among other drugs as well. Though it is up to the individual as to what life choice's they may, talking with your kids about the side effects, addiction, mental health and their over all well being often is a good idea. If education is power, it is our job to continue thorough education on topics that truly matter.

There are now local health clinics that offer counselling for quitting smoking that consists of one on one counselling, group therapy, harm reduction, education and more. You can also visit a local CAMH clinic to ask about their variety of services. More women are smoking e-cigarettes than men, but not for long, as there seems to be an e-cigarette pandemic. There are no significant studies to justify that e-cigarette smoke is less dangerous that conventional smoking, and even if it is less harmful, the ultimate goal should be abstinence. Keeping in mind that children pick up habits through sight and their environment. A child has a fresh start at life, and through Jacob's theory any childhood trauma could affect the child later in life, leading to addiction and mental health issues. Trauma consists of, physical abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. Though smoking may not fall under these categories unless an individual is purposefully smoking around a child, it is still an excellent thing to keep in mind. Children are highly vulnerable and malleable at a young age. Children are our future, and only those who are ignorant to any true reality would ruin a child's future as well as their own.

Nicotine addiction as stated previously is still an addiction and should be treated as one, any neglect to the body is a neglect to the mind and will result in destruction of the body and the environment around it. Every one person has an affect on numerous individuals, more than they probably realize, the subtle and slow downfall of the human race is done one by one, and by many different forms, addiction and substance abuse being one of them. The soul is something few seem to guard highly, and addiction weakens the soul along with countless others.

Just something to think about. What are your thoughts on nicotine addiction? On the use of e-cigarette's? Do you think they are a gateway tool? Do you think they are effective? Have you quit smoking using e-cigarette's? Your opinion is valued.

Carlee Lloyd


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