Is There a Vaping Addiction and What Are the Dangers of Vaping?

Last Updated: December 4, 2020

While a lot of people turned to e-cigarettes in the hopes of avoiding cancer and heart risks, research from the American Association for the Advancement of Science believes that vaping is far from benign.
Electronic cigarettes were first introduced commercially back in 2008. They have continued to gain popularity in recent years.

What is Vaping and How Did it Become So Popular?

Vape is another term for electronic nicotine delivery, personal vaporizers, or electronic cigarettes. It is the practice of inhaling the vapor from e-liquid through a vaporizer. To vape, one needs the atomizer, e-liquid, inhaler piece, and the battery.
E-cigs are battery-powered devices that contain nicotine mixed with glycerin and propylene glycol and different types of flavorings. The liquid is then heated into a vapor that one can inhale.
Electronic cigarettes were introduced to help traditional smokers quit. Vaping eliminates the lingering scent of cigarettes and conventional chemicals and toxins found in cigarettes. Nonetheless, research now indicates that e-cigs could be as harmful as conventional cigarettes. Vaping has become increasingly popular, thanks to the exotic liquid flavors and new portable devices. The vaping industry is estimated to be about $4 billion, and people are now competing to see who can blow the most smoke. Quit Smoking Community, one of the biggest quit smoking organizations, supports vaping as and what it does to help smoker’s switch their nicotine intake.

Studies on Vaping Addiction

The Penn State College of Medicine conducted a study back in 2014, where researchers assessed the addictive nature of e-cigs. They used an online survey where they interviewed ex-smokers who are current vapers. The respondents reported that they smoked an average of 24 cigarettes daily and had 24 vape sessions regularly.
The addiction is the same, but vaping was found to influence more psychological and behavioral changes. Few reported waking up at night for a nicotine fix while other e-cig users had to wait longer for their first vape of the day. Additionally, the majority of participants admit that they had fewer cravings for e-cigs compared to their former cravings for cigarettes. Most also felt less irritable compared to how they felt when they couldn’t smoke.

Concerns Over Vaporized Substances

Although manufacturers suggest that vaping only allows one to breathe harmless vapor and nicotine, The National Institute of Health is now investigating the effects of glycerin and propylene glycol. The World Health Organization banned the use of vaporizers indoors. Studies conducted also suggest that when the liquids are heated, they release higher levels of formaldehyde as compared to a regular cigarette. Furthermore, people are now hacking their devices to allow the greater release of nicotine and heat.

Dangers of Vaping

Although vaping lacks cancer-causing elements found in conventional smoking, studies now show that this practice could be harmful to one’s immune system. It’s been shown that vaping inhibits the function of 358 genes associated with infection-fighting in comparison to smoking, which only inhibits 53 genes. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California showed that 13% of high school students either vaped or smoked in 2014, while 9% smoked in 2014. This indicates that more people find vaping to be more attractive compared to cigarette smoking.

Although e-liquid and vaping pens lack the same toxins found in regular cigarettes, the truth is that they still contain nicotine, a substance that can be addictive, not to mention that it also causes symptoms of withdrawing (especially if nicotine is ingested in high amounts, which can be the case when people use devices called box mods, that produce high volumes of vapor). Such symptoms include anxiety, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, and more. CDC is quoted as saying that nicotine is as addictive as cocaine, alcohol, and heroin.

Adverse Health Effects of Vaping

  • Inflamed lungs
  • Irregular heartbeats associated with high blood pressure
  • Fainting and dizziness
  • Reduced immunity

Another common concern among health officials and law enforcement is that more people are now using vaporizers to ingest synthetic drugs, flakka, and other marijuana-related compounds. Given the freedom of vaping in public places, people are taking advantage of and using these drugs in open areas.

Vaping Withdrawals

When an individual begins to vape, they quickly become addicted to the nicotine, which makes it hard to quit. This is difficult, especially if the devices have been altered for higher delivery of nicotine. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include depression, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, insomnia, and weight gain.
The safety of vaping has not been truly established, while some studies suggest that vaping may not have the same effects of smoking like respiratory effects or cardiovascular problems, it’s still unclear the exact effects associated with frequent vaping.

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Published on: September 26th, 2016

Updated on: December 4th, 2020


Leave a comment

  • Lisa
    My house mate recently went on vape in April. He smokes it indoors with no windows open. The smell is horrible, my eyes burn, lungs are sore. Yet he still continues to smoke it inside constantly. I feel it’s the same as cig and should be outdoors. He just doesn’t respect the fact it still has nicotine.
    • Jacob
      You should check the filter in your air handler, dirt and dust can be causing you to have allergies (burning eyes, coughing, sneezing, sore lungs). If your home has a lot of dust, invest in a UV light for your air handler. I have vaped in my home, car, and non-smokers homes. No one has ever complained of a “lingering smell” or lung, eye irritation from second hand vapor. I have however heard many of those complaints from people exposed to second hand smoke.
    • dawsyn
      ummmm…. do some reading on vaping from a site that isnt bias…. that sounds like actual cigs… vaping leaves no lingering smell after about an hour and he probably doesnt have bad tasting juice bcz who would want to vape that? anyways… vape juice is made of three ingredients sometimes four depending on nicotine.. all chemicals do not have those affects and no vapor behaves that way… the nicotine isnt whats bad in cigarettes… i mean im not saying its good for u but it isnt the thing that makes it so bad… all the other chemicals that cig companies put in are what kills the human body… the nicotine is comparable to drinking 6 cokes a day health wise… its not going to shorten your life span thats for sure… now if your friends has some shady off brand vape juice to save money maybe tell him so… other than that your comment just seems like ur mis informed… most people are. this is coming from someone who vapes and has had no one complain.
    • Kevin Evans
      Vapeurs should be thanked or at least treated with a little respect; they releive the rest of us of smelly rooms, smelly clothes and the financial burden on the health service. I think they might have a better image if people had a more explicit awareness of the difference between burning and vapourising: if you heat a substance until it turns into a vapour then you end up with a vapour made of that substance, like water turns to steam so that there is just a single substance and no chemical change. That is a very big difference to burning leaves, which are made of many different substances in the first place but are chemically changed into many more by the process of burning. When a person turns away from smoking and becomes a vapeur they do everybody a favour, especially those nearest to them. They deserve so much more than to be herded into rainy little leper colonies, huddled together around the god of their idolotry outside the office. Banning it at bus stops or on railway platforms is just a really nasty crack of righteousness that makes me think that we are governed by seven year old teacher’s pets.
      • Brenton
        Agreed, Preach on. This can’t be true enough, I’d rather be caught in a cloud of almost entirely harmless vapor than a smoke cloud anyway, less coughing, smelliness, and complaining!
    • James
      I’m the only one in my friend group who vapes, yet none of them have actually argued about their eyes stinging from vape clouds or from lingering smells. In fact, my sister and I both vape in our rooms and cars, and there’s no after smell. The only smell there is the flavor of the vape itself, which from my experience, it goes away after 5-10 minutes. Some of my friends have actually told me that the vapes that I have smell really good, especially the one that I have called Psychotic Strawberry. It just sounds silly to me that people are complaining about eyes burning because of vape clouds. Yes, both vapes and regular cigs have Nicotine but regular cigs just blow smoke and vapes blow clouds. Clouds and smoke are, for the most part, completely different things. And I know that vaping turns SOME people into smokers (as if they want to smoke regular cigs), but I think I’d rather stick with my e-juices no matter what anyone else says.
  • Lorrie
    I recently stopped vaping . For the past 3 years, I was vaping 0 nicotine. My question is, what if any withdrawal symptoms might I experience?
    • Shane
      None mate since there is no nicotine in it was just a habit not an addiction so it is very easy for you to quit
      • Ghetto
        You are completely wrong… there is nicotine in vapes… that’s all it is in high doses…and I say this with a heavy heart as I have been watching my 15 year old come off vaping for the last 4 days… it’s heartbreaking and causes anxiety, panic attacks, vomiting, nausea and so on…
        • Show
          Obviously, there is nicotine in vapes unless you purchase juice with 0 nicotine. If it has 0 nicotine in the juice its nicotine free. I’m 17 and vape 50mg very frequently and I experience no symptoms of withdrawal or cravings. It depends on the person in most cases with nicotine. You’re likely confused about vaping due to a lack of research, I suggest you educate yourself before calling people “completely wrong”. In the case of your comment, you are indeed the one who is completely wrong. Do some research before you start throwing accusations like those out.
          • Linda
            I am a Grandmother of 2 boys one 14 the other 12. They came to my home with their parents and both were vaping, with permission of their parents!!! They had these box like thing with an part sticking out to puff on. I was appalled not because I had knowledge of the harmful effects but I was and still am convinced it encourages smoking cigarettes also! !!! Now that I see the harmful effects are there I hope they aren’t turned into Child Protection in my State because they are very strict here and sometimes too intrusive. All of this concerns me very much. I just don’t understand the desire of a young person at all. They have so much to do it’s the beginning of a whole new adventure at their ages. Their parents should be encouraging positive things. Am I completely wrong??
        • Sunny
          There is vape juice that is 0 nicotine. I would definitely rather be around vape then a lit cigarette!!!!!!
  • Lizbeth Gastaldello
    I picked up vaping to quit cigarettes and feel better than when I smoked. I don’t think vaping is equivalent to smoking at all from a user’s perspective. It is huge that vaping does not cause cancer and I am glad that I have this alternative because I spent alot of money on nicotine replacement therapy and was not able to quit smoking. I don’t smell like smoke and am not self conscious about it either. I am not as nervous/anxious as I was when I smoked cigarettes. Plus they fail to mention that you can get 0 nicotine liquid and wean yourself off of the nicotine addiction!! Smokers know the risks and most would like to quit but don’t feel that they can quit. So even though vaping may have other health related issues and I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who has never never smoked to start vaping, it did help me to put away the cigarettes for good.
  • Ana
    I recently stopped vaping, I used to vape on 20% nicotine each bottle, I loved it it helped me wake up every morning and concentrate but i heard vaping was as addictive as meth & decided I don’t want any addictions. I feel irritable, have bad headaches and feel like I need it back… but I know I have to stay strong mentally and I threw my vape away. Any suggestions or remedies for the withdrawals?
      Good for you Ana! You sound like a very strong and capable women. You can buy Amazing Grass …detox and digest this will help clean out your system and also put some vitamin C powder and Turmeric in your green mixture! You can do this…and also ask God for help!!!!!
    • Jacob Majba
      Get into exercise and healthy eating as a lifestyle. The body’s memory of nicotine will soon fade, it’s working for me.
  • mike reno
    Vaping with nicotine is just as addictive as smoking. The only difference is that you do not have the additional smells of burning tobacco… But on a teenage brain, the effects of vaping are just as dangerous as smoking.. I have seen high school kids as young as 12 and 13 buy these vaping products and suck on them all day. If that is not addiction, I do not know what is.. I expected FDA to come out strong and restrict or ban Juul etc., completely.. But they succumbed to lobbyists and just did a minimal ban on fruit vapes.
  • Tom
    Nicotine by itself is actually less addictive and far less damaging then caffeine!!!! Yep you coffee is actually MORE addicting and damaging then nicotine and that’s just facts…….
  • Lee
    15 year old son trying to quit but having difficulties with irritability depression lack of interest. Need suggestions moving forward.
  • Joselyn
    How do you stop some one vaping? I’m scared for my brother if It’s addictive.
  • David
    Hilarious! What alot of rubbish. It is in no way the same or as bad as smoking. I’ve been using my high Wantage box mod for 4 years vaping at 70w all the time. I use a 3mg nic level and have had zero side effects. Here’s the kicker. I suffer with ms now when I was first diagnosed it was almost paralyzing I could not walk or anything. At this point I smoked about 20 a day. I was told to stop because it just aggravated my condition due to the effects on my immune system . Everytime I smoked it caused some kind of flair up. But since I switched to vaping I no longer have that issue. I feel much healthier in general. This to me proves the point that vaping is a much much healthier alternative to smoking. If someone is suffering severe withdrawal from vaping it’s because their nic level is far too high. Nicotine is the only addictive substance in vaping and that’s a fact. I tell my ms nurse and nurologist I vape and they have no concerns over it. This from a nurologist who has been in his profession for over 30 years.
    • Steven
      I’m a freshman in high school I’m 15 but I had gotten addicted to nicotine in 6th grade because my older brother had bought a vape and it had 50 nic in it so I was almost immediately addicted and the widthdrawals are so bad I wish that I would have used a much lower dosage as in 3 or 6
      • J
        Yes I vaped for 3 years with 55mg of nicotine. I quit about two weeks ago as I’m almost done with college and trying to ditch any addictions I possibly have that aren’t particularly healthy. As a result of quitting, I went through to absolute worst withdrawals with intense anxiety and about 4 panic attacks per week. DO NOT VAPE WITH HIGH NICOTINE FREQUENTLY. The addiction is very real and I can’t stress this enough. I had to see a psychiatrist and she put me on 2 medications that include Zoloft and Xanax. Feeling a bit better each day but not perfect. I’m diagnosed with PD now and my biggest regret is buying a vape in the first place. Please consider my situation, stay healthy friend.
  • Lama Bayoun
    Is it ok to switch to vaping? I’m trying to quit hookah but I don’t know of vaping is better or worse, although the container says that it has 3% nicotine. But it looks harmless… what do you think?
    • Hannah
      I say dont do it
  • Jimmy
    I hope y’all realize that vape with 0% nicotine won’t give you an addiction, if anything it will just be annoying to break the habit of not using a vape just to blow clouds with everyday. I’m 6 days off of 60mg if nicotine and the first 3 days have just been constant headache and on and off dizziness buts that’s all starting to fade away by the 5th day. I get random fiends sometimes but they go away after a few mins if you just do something else like play video games or something. Other than that I’m kinda lucky that I have adhd cause I forget about the whole situation I’m in sometimes lol. Drink caffeine to help take the edge but be warned that caffeine will double in your blood stream after trying to quit nicotine so be careful with how much you drink.
  • xzavier
    I am 14 years old and i have been addicted to vaping for 2 years and cant stop but the 50 nic in my novo seems to help with stress and depression. I also vape in school since i was 13 and i’m about to turn 15 in 2 months and i think that kids who vape should be aloud to because it really helps me and could help other’s my age i have been suspended once for vaping and the principle told me that if its helping me i should keep doing it to learn to stop but he said only out side of school so i have been vaping since
  • Franky
    Yesterday, I tossed my vape in the trash. I’m on my second day. I feel like hell. I quit cigaretts in 2013, after more than 40 years of smoking. Now I have to start all over again. The withdrawl for me is no different than quittiing cigaretts. Yesterday I felt anxiety like I did 6 years ago. This morning, I have no motivation to do anything more than lift my coffee mug up to my face. I’m coughing, sneezing, shaking, and naseous. I thought about having a shot of whisky, but I love to smoke when I have it. Today, I feel like a condemned man. I’ll suffer through a lifetime of withdrawl. That of course is an illusion. The real truth is, after about a week of this hell, things will start to improve. I did this before, so it would seem that I can do this again. I know it can be done, but it can be uncomfortable for the first week. Don’t pay it too much mind. Addiction is like a prison, You can walk out of that prison anytime you like. The trouble is, you’ll always wear a shackle from there. Be mindful of tempations. The Prison will haul you back inside right after the first puff. You will never be pardoned, but always on probation.
  • Jimmy
    Here is how I quit nicotine. Buy 3 x 10ml bottles of 18mg juice. When you are half way through your last bottle buy 3 x 10ml bottles of 12mg juice and start smoking that first thing in the morning. If you feel you need a booster you still have half a bottle of 18mg juice but don’t fill the tank just put a little drop in it have your booster then go back to 12mg and by the time you get to your last 12mg bottle your body will now be used to 12mg. Then buy 6mg juice and repeat then 3mg juice. Now the hardest bit…..going from 3 to 0mg is harder as you will no longer get that little “sting” in the back of your throat with the 0mg so what I done was overcompensated by buying myself some expensive lovely tasting 0mg juice and that was it, I was now on 0mg juice. After 3 or 4 weeks on 0mg I just stopped vaping completely as there was no addiction any more! The whole process took me 11 weeks and in that time I went from 50 cigarettes a day to ZERO and saved myself £800 a month. I can now confirm I am rich! :o)
  • Diane
    Quit smoking 28 years ago and took up vaping 5 weeks ago when going away with friends who smoke and vape a lot of pot,,, which I don’t use myself. I didn’t want to feel left out so I picked up a STLTH unit and the lowest nicotine product they had,, 35 ml or 3.5 nicotine,,, whatever that means. Anyway,,,, after a few weeks horrible sore throat all the time,,, strange dreams and interrupted sleep,,, coughing at night and my house had a lingering stinky odour but I liked the buzz I felt from the nicotine. Wow,,, raging addiction had reared it’s ugly head in no time at all. I am in shock at how quickly it happened,,,,, FASTER than when I first smoked years ago. I quit them when I had become a 2 pack a day smoker. My advice,,,, DONT do it!! I tossed the STLTH unit from my car 3 days ago and am fighting the urge to go get another one,,,,, all in a matter of a few weeks!