Can You Get Addicted to Vaping?

April 5, 2021

3 mins

When the first e-cigarettes were introduced to the U.S. in 2006, vaping was considered a healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. In fact, the first commercially successful e-cigarette was invented by a man in China when his father died of lung cancer after years of heavy smoking.

The science, however, tells a very different story. Vaping has been linked to lung damage, brain alterations, heart disease, and other conditions. The FDA even gave e-cigarette maker Juul a slap on the wrist for marketing their products as safer than cigarettes without research to back up the claim.

Although e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco or the thousands of chemicals found in traditional cigarettes, they do contain nicotine, which is extremely addictive, especially for teens and adolescents.

The Science Behind Vape Addiction

Yale Medicine reports that when vapor is inhaled, nicotine is quickly absorbed into blood vessels in the lungs and reaches the brain in about 10 seconds. At that point, nicotine disrupts neurotransmitters in the brain’s reward system by attaching to receptors and signaling the brain to release dopamine.

The feeling of pleasure caused by nicotine, unlike other substances, is short-lived. Nicotine quickly exits the body after being broken down by the liver, resulting in frequent cravings. Vaping can quickly become habitual and a coping mechanism for stress and depression.

Vaping can also lead to withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Irritability
  • Hunger and weight gain
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Brain fog
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping

Because vaping isn’t typically perceived as unhealthy as other substances, many people would rather go back to vaping than deal with withdrawal. Research has shown that the average smoker tries to quit at least 30 times before quitting for good. Many experts believe vape addiction is just as difficult to kick.

Risk of Vape Addiction Higher for Teens

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, young people are much more susceptible to becoming addicted to vaping.

The brain doesn’t become fully developed until the age of 25. Addiction is a form of learning, and when new skills are learned, stronger synapses, or connections, between brain cells are formed. This happens more quickly in growing brains than fully developed brains, which is why young people can become addicted to nicotine more easily.

Also, the part of the brain responsible for decision-making and impulse control is not fully developed, making young people more susceptible to risky behavior. 

Teens are often drawn to the design and ease of use of vaping systems. They don’t like the smell of smoke, but they enjoy e-cigarette flavors. One report found that 82.9 percent of youths who vape use flavored e-cigarettes.

Of course, it doesn’t help that leading vaping brands often target young people with advertising on platforms that don’t allow the advertising of conventional tobacco products.

Can You Get Addicted to Vaping?

Yes, you can get addicted to vaping because e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Vaping is especially addictive for people under the age of 25 whose brains are still growing. Developing brains are more sensitive to rewards, making it more difficult to stop vaping.

Kick Your Vaping Addiction at West Valley Detox Treatment

You don’t have to try 30 times before you stop vaping for good. From our co-ed medically-assisted detox center in Los Angeles, we can help teens and adults overcome uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and quit vaping.

To learn more about our co-ed detox program and vaping treatment services, contact West Valley Detox Treatment today.

West Valley Detox Treatment is a holistic, results-focused residential treatment center for substance abuse and mental health. Offering a range of clinical, behavioral, and experiential therapies, West Valley remains on the cutting edge of addiction rehabilitation.


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