Asking whether vaping is addictive seems like one of those questions you might be too embarrassed to address with the vaping connoisseurs seen hurrying off down the street, going somewhere probably very important, enveloped in a cloud of their own vaping magic. And that’s understandable, trust me. But this, my friends, is a safe space, and no question is worth embarrassment.
Much of this confusion stems from vaping’s close proximity to, but stark differences from, smoking cigarettes. I mean, some people try vaping to help them quit smoking, right? That would imply that it isn’t addictive, but what exactly are the facts? Is it fair to assume that vaping is the stark opposite of smoking? Or, is vaping addictive in it’s own right, and is it as bad for you as smoking is?
What Makes Smoking Cigarettes Addictive?
Before moving on to vaping, let’s take a bit of a closer look at what makes smoking cigarettes so addictive. Basically, smoking cigarettes is addictive for a few reasons: its ingredients, the physical habit that it forms, and the combination of ingredients and habitually reinforced behaviours.
The main addictive ingredient in cigarettes is nicotine, a highly addictive substance found naturally in tobacco that alters the levels of dopamine and noradrenaline in your brain. These alterations cause heightened moods, reduced anxiety, and increased focus, things we find completely irresistible.
What also becomes irresistible is the psychological ritual associated with smoking. Smoke breaks become a way to escape the bustle and stress of our days, and this coupled with the reinforced ‘high’ from nicotine produces the addiction we know all too well. And, of course, nicotine addiction causes an intense sensation of withdrawal, making smoking incredibly hard to quit for good.
Do E-Cigarettes Contain Nicotine?
With this information in mind, then, it would be appropriate to ask if vaping contains any addictive ingredients in its own right, and nicotine is definitely a good place to start. At first glance, e-liquids certainly don’t look like they contain nicotine. But don’t let looks deceive you, e-liquids can contain nicotine, and many of them do. However, it’s not a requirement for e-liquids to have nicotine in them, and so the answer to this question becomes irritatingly ambiguous.
What can be said for certain though, is that e-liquids do not contain any other substance that is outrightly addictive. Depending on the e-liquid, it could or could not contain nicotine, and so it could or could not be addictive. But this is not the end of the story.
Is Vaping Healthier Than Smoking?
So if e-cigarettes, like the KandyPens Slim, have the potential to become addictive depending on their nicotine content, does this mean that they are as unhealthy for you as smoking? Well, nicotine is largely not the most harmful thing about smoking cigarettes, even if it is the most addictive. As many of us already know, the main harm from smoking primarily has to do with the huge amount of chemicals that are released into our systems from tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
The key word here is ‘smoke’, and this one little word seems to separate the whole worlds of smoking cigarettes and vaping. When you inhale the vapour from your e-cigarette, you’re not actually ‘smoking’ anything at all because nothing is actually being burned in the process. When you light up a cigarette, the combustion process (or burning process) generates > literally thousands of chemicals, many of which are poisonous or cancerous, including carbon monoxide and tar. You then inhale these carcinogens contained within the tobacco smoke and they are rapidly absorbed into your system through the lungs.
Vaping, on the other hand, works quite differently. Vapes contain e-liquid, a mixture of vegetable glycerin and/or polyethylene glycol, flavoring and (potentially) nicotine. With every inhalation, a sensor triggers a vaporizer to heat a small amount of liquid, but this is not burned. The liquid turns to vapour rather, and is inhaled. This vapour, because it has not been burned or combusted, does not contain the same harmful chemicals that are released during the smoking process.
In this way, it is appropriate to say that vaping, even though still not fully understood, will be less impactful on our bodies than regular smoking. But again, this is not the entire story. Even though it is most likely much less dangerous overall to vape over smoking, are there any potential dangers associated with vaping, and are there any circumstances which could make it addictive?
Can Vaping Be Addictive?
Well, as mentioned above, vaping can contain varying doses of nicotine, and of course this can be addictive. What’s more, vaping is by and large marketed to appear safer than smoking. Although this is irrefutably true, this isn’t to say they are harmless, and many of the long term effects of vaping are not yet well documented. Vaping, as well, is booming in popularity for younger users. This may have to do with the ‘safe’ veneer vaping has over cigarette smoking, or the seemingly endless flavour choices available. In this way, many people, and many young people, are replacing one very bad habit with a less bad habit.
Vaping has the potential to weaken the stronghold that smoking cigarettes has had for so long. And, used in a responsible way, vaping can be a much safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. Of course, as with any substance, vaping has the potential to be abused and to be addictive. But, if used in an educated and measured fashion, vaping can overcome potential stigma, but this is largely the responsibility of the user.