A vape is an electronic device that simulates tobacco smoking. It consists of a battery, atomizer and a cartridge or tank that holds the liquids used to produce the vapor. The liquids contain nicotine and many other chemicals. When users inhale the vapor produced by the vape, they are said to be “vaping.” The popularity of vaping has grown significantly in recent years. The UK’s chief medical officer has recently called for urgent regulation of vaping to ensure it is not marketed to children and young adults. He has urged governments to use lessons learned from the failure of the tobacco industry to introduce such regulations, including plain packaging and health warnings on all products, behind-the-counter display and restrictions on refill bottles and tanks for electronic devices.
The health effects of vaping are still being studied, but it is known that nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds of inhalation and triggers a surge of dopamine, causing pleasure and reward. This pleasure can cause people to continue using the drug, despite its harm to their health. It can also change the way their brain works, making it harder to focus, learn and remember things, and may even make them more likely to smoke regular cigarettes.
Teens are especially vulnerable to nicotine addiction because their brains are still developing and are more susceptible to the physical and psychological effects of it. This is why it is important to avoid vaping at all times, whether or not you are a smoker.
Kids hear from other teens that vaping is not as bad for you as smoking, and they see advertisements on TV and social media that give them the impression that it’s harmless. They also don’t realize how much nicotine is in some of the e-cigarette liquids. These are offered in kid-friendly flavors and are easy to hide in indoor areas.
Nicotine in vapor can damage the lungs, and there is evidence it damages the heart and blood vessels as well. It can cause respiratory illnesses, like bronchiolitis obliterans (popcorn lung), which causes permanent scarring in the lungs and makes it hard to breathe. It can also lead to a decrease in lung function, lower heart rate and blood pressure and narrows the arteries.
It can also contribute to mental illness and depression, as it reduces self-control, memory and concentration, particularly in adolescent brains. It can also increase the risk of using other substances, such as marijuana and other drugs, which can lead to addiction.
If you’re interested in quitting, there are free online, text and phone quit support services available to help you. Talk to your doctor, therapist or school counselor and ask them about these resources. It can take time to quit, but your lungs, your mind, and your future deserve it. Having a supportive community is also a great help. Consider getting your friends and family involved in your plan to quit and encouraging them to keep you accountable.