Vaping – Is it Harmless?
What is Vaping?
Vapes are battery powered devices containing a liquid which is heated into a vapour which people then breathe in.
Disposable vapes are becoming popular amongst some young people due to the wide variety of flavours and their bright colours.
These disposable vapes should be discarded once the liquid has been used but due to the battery within them, they should be disposed of at a local battery recycling point. Find out why and how to dispose of them HERE
What’s the Harm?
E-cigarettes aka Vapes, can be used to help people stop smoking tobacco. However, vapes are not recommended for non-smokers and it is illegal to sell vapes to anyone under the age of 18.
The liquid within a vape often contains vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, and flavourings which have been used as additives in some processed foods. While we know that they are safe within foods, we simply do not know the long term effects of inhaling these substances directly into our lungs.
It’s important to remember that when tobacco cigarettes were first discovered, they were considered to be healthy. We know now through research, just how bad the long-term effects of smoking tobacco can be. As vaping has not been around for long, we have not been able to gather enough evidence to research it fully and so don’t know the long term effects.
We know that vaping can cause some short term effects such as
- Sore throats
Nicotine and the Brain
Most vapes contain nicotine which is highly addictive. Some vapes are marked as nicotine-free but when tested, do show that they do contain some nicotine.
Addiction means that you experience strong cravings, and likely feel stressed and irritable. A few puffs of the vape might make you feel calmer, but pretty quickly, those feelings of stress come back. Do you feel like you need to have a vape with you anywhere you go? Do you feel like you need to vape every day? If the answer is yes, you might be starting to get addicted.
As we know from ‘Your Amazing Teenage Brain’ young people’s brains go through a massive re-structuring until the age of 25 and so we know that this can make them more at risk of addiction. Nicotine addiction can make you more at risk of developing addictions to other harmful things and you are 3 times more likely to smoke tobacco if you are vaping.
Help to Quit
If you have been vaping but would like to quit, there are some things that you can try.
- Write down why – Making a note of why you want to quit will help you think through all the benefits which means you are more likely to follow through with it.
- Triggers – Make a note of when you usually vape, is it out of habit or are there times when you feel that you really need it?
- Make a plan – Now that you have noted the times you vape, you can make a plan to avoid these circumstances. Keep your vape somewhere inconvenient rather than in a pocket so that it is not so easily available and you have to think and then act before taking a puff out of habit. Try to wait longer between puffs (if you usually vape every 20 mins, try to wait 40 mins).
- Distraction – There will be times when you will feel the need to vape but cravings only last five minutes, so if you can distract yourself away from this craving, it will pass. Sometimes going to get yourself a glass of water is enough, other times you might need to take yourself for a walk or run.
- Tell someone – Support from parents or friends is so important as they can help you with distractions, encouragement and celebrate with you as make progress.
Also visit Quit Your Way Scotland for some more information and advice. Part of their service is to chat to an advisor for more support
Support and Further information
It is really important that you get support as this has such a big impact for people trying to stop any kind of addiction. Reach out to any adult you trust whether that is a parent or carer, extended family member or a school staff member, they can help you find the support that is right for you.