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Does Vaping Promote Better Mental Health

There are many reasons why an individual may choose to switch from smoking tobacco cigarettes to vaping e-cigarettes. Not the least of these is the move away from inhaling the smoke from over four thousand known chemicals[1], including forty-three carcinogenic compounds.  However, there is one aspect of tobacco cigarette smoking that many individuals seek to hold onto, even when they have determined that smoking is bad for their overall health–nicotine, which some argue is beneficial for their mental health.

Vaping and Mental Health

Nicotine bonds with nicotinic receptors[2], which can then stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.  Both these neurotransmitters are related to the pleasure and reward processes in the body, and can lead to elation and excitability.  Research has actually demonstrated that those individuals who suffer from mental health problems are not only more likely to smoke, but they are more likely to become dependent upon nicotine and more likely to have a difficult time quitting than smokers who don’t suffer from mental health problems.  Of course, that’s not to say that someone who has never ingested nicotine and never will cannot achieve good mental health. However, it does appear that those who are suffering from mental health problems experience some relief from the ingestion of nicotine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that individuals suffering from mental health problems are responsible for roughly a third of all cigarettes smoked in the United States.  Unfortunately, even while cigarettes can help to relieve many of the undesirable symptoms of these mental health problems, they can also create a host of new health problems–increasing the individual’s mortality rates.  This is where vaping comes in.

When vaping with e-cigarettes, an individual can experience the mental health benefits that come from ingesting nicotine, while avoiding the many adverse and carcinogenic effects caused by smoking tobacco cigarettes.  Vaping also provides the added benefit of allowing such an individual to slowly reduce their nicotine intake over time–so that as they work to address any mental health issues they are coping with, they can become less dependent upon and more free from nicotine.  Tobacco cigarettes do not offer this option, and can therefore be viewed by some as the “only” solution and one they simply have to “deal with” indefinitely.

[1] http://www.quitsmokingsupport.com/whatsinit.htm

[2] https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=11&po=8

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