The Health Risks of E-cigarettes for Young People

Although smoking itself is at an all-time low e-cigarette use has risen steadily

Also known as “vaping,” e-cigarettes have become increasingly popular, especially among young people. Although smoking itself is at an all-time low according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), e-cigarette use has risen steadily. Surveys reveal that about 24.6 percent of high school students and 7.7 percent of middle school student say they’ve tried some form of tobacco. Public health advocates say that e-cigarette use has climbed for a variety of reasons, including low cost and different flavors like gummy bear and cotton candy — both of which appeal to young people.

Are E-cigarettes Safer Than Regular Cigarettes?

Unlike regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that emit an aerosol, which summit healththe user inhales. In many cases, the aerosol contains both nicotine and a flavoring to make the vapor taste better.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), research suggests that e-cigarettes might be safer than traditional smoking, but only in cases where smokers switch from regular cigarettes to vaping. This is not the case for the majority of young people, who tend to start vaping without ever having smoked regular cigarettes.

The vapor in e-cigarettes contains toxic chemicals and known carcinogens, as well as high levels of nickel and chromium. As the NIDA states, “…nicotine in any form is a highly addictive drug. Research suggests it can even prime the brain’s reward system, putting vapers at risk for addiction to other drugs.”

The Health Risks of Vaping

E-cigarettes still contain nicotine, which has a powerful effect on the body’s adrenal glands. When a person vapes, their brain is stimulated to release the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), which increases the levels of dopamine in the brain. This is the so-called “reward system,” which tricks the brain into a calmer, more relaxed state. As so many people have discovered, however, this reward is only temporarily — and users eventually need more and more of the drug to achieve the same pleasant results.

In addition to pushing the body’s reward system into overdrive, e-cigarettes also contain other harmful substances. The U.S. Surgeon General warns that vape pens release ultrafine particles into the lungs, as well as volatile organic compounds. People can even inhale heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead — all of which have been shown to be toxic in the body.

Because the brain continues to develop all the way to age 25, nicotine exposure as a high school student or young adult can cause long-term problems. Additionally, research shows that e-cigarettes can open a gateway to other types of drug use.    

Contact Summit Behavioral Health Today

Summit Behavioral Health offers both inpatient and outpatient programs to help people overcome drug and alcohol addiction, as well as co-occurring disorders. It is possible to obtain a lasting recovery — even if you have relapsed before. Our programs are personalized and medically supervised. Call our behavioral health professionals today at 1-855-855-9199 to speak with a substance abuse expert about your treatment options.

Summit Behavioral Health – Serenity At Summit

Detox Treatment

1000 Galloping Hill Road

Union, NJ 07083

Phone: (908) 481-4400

Summit Behavioral Health – Serenity At Summit

Detox & Residential Treatment

61 Brown St

Haverhill, MA 01830

Phone: (978) 641-3001

Rebecca O’Mara

Executive Director Brand Management