Vaping: The Fastest Growing Addiction in HistorySeth Sparks
Manufacturers of vaping products have touted e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to smoking. That’s created a lot of misinformation about the safety of vaping devices, which we are now learning can present a much greater threat to users than manufacturers originally promised.
An outbreak of vaping-related injuries and deaths have prompted calls by consumer safety advocates to better regulate e-cigarettes and conduct further research on the effects of vaping. This technology is still new compared to analog cigarettes, and there is so much we don’t know about the long-term impact of e-cigarette use.
What we do know is that vaping, despite its known and potential dangers, is the fastest growing addiction in history. It’s fueled by use among young people, but long-time smokers seeking a method of cessation have also leaned on e-cigarettes in hopes of a healthier lifestyle. Sadly, this is proving false for hundreds of people using vaping devices.
The Rise and Consequences of E-Cigarettes in the U.S.
From 2017 to 2018, the percentage of high school seniors who had vaped within 30 days of being surveyed jumped from 11 percent to nearly 21 percent. As noted by the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, this is by far “the biggest one-year increases ever seen for any substance in the history of the MTF (Monitoring the Future) survey.” This increase eclipses the previous record-holder for the largest jump, which occurred in the mid-1970s when marijuana use increased from 27.1 percent to 32.2 percent.
In the 44 years that the National Institute on Drug Abuse has tracked adolescent drug use, experts have seen nothing that comes close to the rise of vaping. This alarming increase has consequences.
For example, when 18-year-old student athlete Adam Hergenreder was hospitalized after vaping for more than a year and a half, doctors told him he now had the lungs of a 70-year-old. Another teen from Erie, Pennsylvania had been vaping for two years when he suddenly became ill and was taken to the hospital, where doctors determined his lungs were filled with hardened e-liquid, akin to “bacon grease after it has cooled,” according to the boy’s father.
The Injury and Death Toll Keep Rising
As of September 2019, the death toll of vaping has increased to at least seven people, while the number of illnesses increased to 530. Investigations are still underway, and it’s not entirely clear why this increase is happening. Many injured and deceased people are believed to have vaped THC liquid in addition to nicotine e-juice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging anyone concerned about their health to stop using these devices immediately. It also suggests avoiding any vaping devices containing black market THC and CBD products.
Meanwhile, the manufacturers of vaping devices are coming to terms with the effects of their products on people who vape. Juul, the biggest manufacturer of e-cigarettes, announced it will no longer be advertising its products. The company’s chief executive officer has announced he is resigning. Federal regulators seem to be taking this crisis more seriously than they were before the outbreak. Some states are moving to ban some types vaping devices, especially flavored products.
For those that currently vape, these developments are concerning. It’s understandable that many e-cigarette users are reconsidering their habit and looking for ways to end their nicotine addiction.
Nicotine Addiction Can Be Overcome
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances available, and any device or product that delivers the substance is fueling that addiction. Though some forms of nicotine delivery might not be as harmful to a user’s health as traditional cigarettes, it is not safe to say that vaping is one of them. We simply don’t know enough about these e-cigarettes or e-liquids to speak to their long-term effects. What we have learned over the past few months is alarming, and it’s a reminder that every addiction has consequences.
Coping with a nicotine addiction isn’t easy, but it is most definitely possible. Being nicotine-free is something anyone can accomplish. It requires discipline and commitment, and it helps if you work with an addiction professional who knows what works and what doesn’t. You don’t need to go it alone.
Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners for Help
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we believe that everyone can overcome addiction, regardless of how long or how much they have used a substance. We assess each client’s unique needs, so we can give them the tools to succeed. Smoking and other nicotine delivery devices are some of the biggest killers in the United States. Ending your addiction will vastly improve your chances of living a longer, healthier life.
If you are interested in ending your nicotine addiction, R&A Therapeutic Partners can help. Contact our team today by calling 786-452-7352 and scheduling an appointment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.