Long term effects of e-cigarettes may include a lifelong addiction to nicotine, a substance that has been shown to be as addictive as heroin.
What are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat nicotine liquids to create a vapor that can be inhaled. Using e-cigarettes is commonly called “vaping” due to the vapor that the devices produce. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these devices provide users the same nicotine effect as smoking traditional cigarettes.
Most e-cigarettes include several components, including:
- Liquid nicotine solution(s) which can contain varying amounts of nicotine and different flavors
- A cartridge or reservoir to hold the nicotine liquid solution
- A heating element or atomizer to heat the liquid, forming an inhalable vapor
- A power source such as a battery
- A mouthpiece used to inhale the produced vapor
Some popular e-cigarette brands include JUUL, Vuse, Blu, Logic, MarkTen XL.
What are the Short Term Effects of E-Cigarettes?
Most short term effects associated with e-cigarettes can be attributed to nicotine. Nicotine causes an increase of adrenaline in the body which in turn leads to increased blood pressure, a higher rate of breathing, and an increased heart rate.
Nicotine also prompts the brain to increase the level of dopamine, commonly known as the happy chemical. This creates feelings of happiness and pleasure along with activating the reward centers in the brain.
What are the Long Term Effects of E-Cigarettes?
Nicotine in e-cigarettes can also have long term effects, most notably an addiction that is extremely difficult to kick. As previously mentioned, nicotine causes changes in the brain that provide a pleasing sensation temporarily. The temporary “high” from nicotine makes the brain crave the chemical, leading to an addiction.
This mechanism is similar to addictive drugs such as heroin. Its effects on the brain and the resulting addiction can be seriously debilitating. This results in a lifelong addiction to the chemical, forcing individuals to seek out nicotine through traditional cigarettes or other e-cigarettes.
Individuals who are dependent on nicotine may find it difficult or impossible to quit vaping. The Mayo Clinic reports that vapers may experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop including cravings, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, frustration, anger, increased hunger, insomnia, constipation or diarrhea.
Although the risks of vaping are still being studied, habitually using vape products to satisfy an addiction may place individuals at risk for health complications. Recently, e-cigarettes have been linked to serious health complications, including seizures.
There may also be emotional long term effects of e-cigarettes, such as addicted individuals find themselves changing their social behaviors based on their vaping habit. Socializing with others who vape, and going to places that allow vaping are some examples of the habit’s long term social side effects.
Who Is Most at Risk for E-cigarette Health Effects?
Unfortunately, young people may be particularly at risk for the health effects of e-cigarettes. Teen use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed in recent years, and teens may be at risk for the health effects. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reported on this trend, says Kaiser Health News, noting that almost one in four high school seniors having used a vape in the last month.
The FDA explains that young people are particularly susceptible to nicotines addictions, because their brains are developing. According to the FDA, nicotine in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products can “rewire” a teen’s brain to create a powerful nicotine addiction. Additionally, nicotine use may have long-lasting effects on attention, learning ability, and memory, says the FDA.
NPR notes that 1,080 cases connected to e-cigarette health problems have been reported, including 18 deaths. NPR says that the number keeps climbing, as the devices’ popularity continues to rise. More deaths are reportedly being investigated for possible links to vaping.
Teens may be particularly at risk for addictions to e-cigarettes, because some critics say the products are marketed directly to them. Vox explains that e-cigarette companies may have gone after the teen market in an effort to make a profit without competing with Big Tobacco’s market — that means finding a new market of people not already smoking cigarettes. Reportedly, the companies market to teens by offering e-liquid in attractive flavors that mimic food or candy, and by making the e-cigarettes look like electronic devices.
Join a Free E-Cigarette Class Action Lawsuit Investigation
If you or your child became addicted to nicotine after smoking e-cigarettes and/or suffered health side effects, you may be eligible to participate in an e-cigarette nicotine addiction lawsuit investigation. See if you qualify by filling out this form for a free case evaluation.
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