May 9, 2024

Battling Teen Mental Health: The Impact of Vaping as a Coping Mechanism

Written by Nate Hyman


Vaping was intended to be created as a healthy alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. Vapes were thought to be a nicotine-free method to recover from addictions that many smokers faced. However, nicotine was as, if not more, concentrated in vapes. Vaping is not, and never was, better than smoking.


As stated before, vaping is a “cooler”, more modern form of smoking that has the ability to appeal to younger demographics with flavoring and accessibility. Companies also relentlessly target younger individuals, making it difficult to avoid trying a vape.


Vaping, and all forms of nicotine, give a temporary high or buzz, allowing users to feel better temporarily. This buzz is the main thing vapers get out of vaping. However, similar to cigarettes, this buzz doesn’t just come after one hit. It takes many hits, varying from person to person, to get a temporary high. This means that vapers must take over 100 puffs a day in order to satisfy their cravings.


This is thought to serve as an “escape from reality”. However, according to the American Heart Association, 60% of vapers experience worse anxiety and stress than those who don’t vape. This statistic creates a clear connection between vaping and worsened mental health. Vaping causes teens to spiral as they do it more and more, eventually leading them into depression.


It is also widely known to worsen ADHD and symptoms of viruses, such as COVID-19. Since Nicotine is a stimulant, it hits the same dopamine receptors that medications like Adderall or Concerta do, increasing the temporary high for individuals with ADHD, while also worsening their condition. Vaping is also known to inflame parts of the lungs, which when paired with COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases will worsen symptoms


Vaping may seem like the way to make life better, however, there exist other solutions that are free and healthy. I believe that free online therapy is the best way to get teens off of vaping. Helping to treat both depression and anxiety, free online therapy is a better alternative because its results are not temporary and it does not worsen mental health disorders. The government offers many free online therapy programs, BetterHelp and TalkSpace also exist and are free for teens to sign up for. Engaging in healthy alternatives would also help teens save money since vapes can range from $10-$50.


At Cancer Sherpa, we believe that mental health is a significant topic that must be focused on in healthcare and medicine. Understanding mental health as a concept and aiding the mental health of patients can make treatment and recovery easier. Mental health is at the center of vaping, once it can be understood and advocated for, vaping will be less of an issue among teens.


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