Vaping and smoking cessation
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol nicotine produced by e-cigarettes or other devices. Nicotine is a stimulant drug that speeds up the messages traveling between the brain and body. It is very addictive substance found in tobacco products. E-cigarettes come in many flavorings, such as mint, bubble gum, cotton candy, and with fruit flavors being the most popular among youth. They can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease when inhaled.
E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that individuals use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals, and are also known as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). E-cigarettes mainly contain four components: a liquid chemical, referred to as e-juice, cartridge, battery, the power source and atomizer, which is a heating element. The e-liquid or e-juice is the main component and contains nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings, heavy metals and other chemicals that are harmful. E-cigarettes are most commonly used amongst the youth population. As of 2019, around 5.3 million U.S. middle school and high school students use e-cigarettes.
Health effects of vaping
Due to containing nicotine, vaping can be quite addictive, affecting the development of fetuses and adolescent’s brain, which continues into their mid-20s. It affects areas of the brain that are responsible for attention, memory, learning, and brain plasticity. It can cause lung related illnesses and symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain. It can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and stomach pain.
There are many ways to quit smoking. You can decide to stop smoking immediately - a method that 90% of people try. There are also various nicotine replacement products available. Working with a counselor to find ways to avoid smoking and figuring out triggers that could lead to smoking again may also be helpful. There are many health benefits to quitting. Over time:
- 20 minutes – heart rate returns to normal levels
- 12 to 24 hours – reduced risk of a heart attack & carbon monoxide levels drop
- 2 weeks to 3 months – lung functions start to improve
- 1 to 9 months – a decrease in coughing and shortness of breath 1 year – risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s
- 5 to 15 years – risk of having a stroke is reduced; dying from lung cancer or getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus is half that of a smoker’s
Nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy is the most commonly used way to reduce withdrawal feelings by giving small amounts of nicotine to slowly reduce the urge to smoke. Types of nicotine replacement therapy include: nicotine patch, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge, inhaler and nasal spray.
The nicotine patch is also known as transdermal patch. It is applied to the skin and steadily delivers small amounts of nicotine. It is available in different doses delivering between 5mg and 22mg of nicotine over 24-hour period. There is no need for a prescription and is available over the counter.
Nicotine gum was nicotine replacement therapy to be introduced. It is to be chewed intermittently until you get a tingling feeling then its held in the mouth. Nicotine gum is available in 2mg and 4mg dosages and there is no need for a prescription and is available over the counter.
A nicotine lozenge releases nicotine as it slowly dissolves in the mouth. Nicotine is absorbed through the buccal mucosa and delivered into systemic circulation. Nicotine lozenges are available in 2mg and 4mg dosages and there is no need for a prescription and is available over the counter.
With use of an inhaler, nicotine is delivered by inhaling it through a mouthpiece that’s attached to a plastic cartridge. The inhaler contains about 10mg of nicotine and a prescription is needed for it.
The nasal spray is a multi-dose bottle containing nicotine with a pump mechanism The nasal spray delivers 0.5 mg of nicotine with one squirt to each nostril and a prescription is needed for it.