What is Vaping?
Vaping is when a person uses a device such as an e-cigarette or vape pen to deliver chemicals, substances or nicotine into their body by inhaling a vapor. The devices come in all different shapes and sizes, including tanks, mods and pens. Most of the devices are battery operated and contain a heating device along with a cartridge to hold whatever the ingredients are. The liquid inside the device typically contains nicotine, chemicals and other flavorings.
Side Effects of Vaping
- Sore throat
- Dry mouth
- Dry eyes
Long-term Effects of Vaping
- Lung injuries
- Low birth weight related to vaping while pregnant
- Reproductive issues
- Heart attack or stroke
- Respiratory problems
Can E-Cigarettes Help Someone Quit Smoking?
There is no evidence that suggests that e-cigarettes can help a person quit smoking regular cigarettes. E-cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA and are not proven to be safe, especially during pregnancy. The best option during pregnancy, is to discontinue using any vaping devices along with cigarettes, to keep both yourself and your baby safe.
Individual, group, and telephone counseling have been found to be effective in helping people to quit. If you are pregnant and haven’t been able to quit smoking on your own or with counseling, you can discuss the risks and benefits of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications with your health care provider.
After the baby is born, there are a lot more options for a woman to consider for herself to quit smoking such as some FDA approved medications. It is important to note that nicotine is very contagious and harmful, and there are other options available to help you quit your smoking or vaping habit.
Vaping Versus Cigarette Smoking
It is well-known that smoking and using nicotine while being pregnant can be potentially dangerous to an unborn fetus, even if it is in the form of a vaping device or e-cigarette. Many people think that smoking e-cigarettes will help them quit smoking or be less harmful than smoking, but that has not been proven to be true.
While tobacco companies advertise that e-cigs can help users quit smoking traditional cigarettes, don’t be fooled by the marketing claims. The U.S. Preventive Task Force (USPTF) recently concluded that “current evidence is insufficient to recommend electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigs) for tobacco cessation in adults, including pregnant women.”
Vaping During Pregnancy
Although, it may seem like vaping is safer than regular nicotine cigarettes, it is still not safe to do while pregnant. There are still harmful chemicals and substances used in vaping devices that can be dangerous to your unborn baby. The best option is to quit using any type of drug while you are pregnant to keep yourself and your baby safe.
Although the aerosol of e-cigarettes generally has fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine are not safe to use during pregnancy. Nicotine (as well as the flavorings used in e-cigarettes) is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs.
Harmful Effects of Vaping While Pregnant
E-cigarettes during pregnancy have not been proven to be safe, in fact they can be very harmful to an unborn baby and the mother who is pregnant. Some of the dangerous ingredients in e-cigarettes can include:
- ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.
- heavy metals, including nickel, tin and lead.
- cancer-causing chemicals such as nitrosamines, formaldehyde, and propylene glycol (a solvent used in anti-freeze).
- so-called volatile organic compounds, or gases emitted into the air that may have adverse health effects.
- flavoring like diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious, irreversible lung disease called obliterative bronchiolitis.
How to Quit Vaping
It can be challenging to quit something like vaping, as it can be very addictive and quickly become a habit that your body needs. In order to quit, a plan needs to be in place to help with the triggers that will inevitably happen, causing a person to struggle with quitting.
Here are some steps to help with quitting:
Learn what your triggers are
It’s important to understand why nicotine and the use of vaping devices is taking over your life. Identify what your triggers are, keep track of when you get the urge to use, and try and replace the habit with a healthier option.
Think about timing
Once you decide that you want to quit, make sure to think about the timing. It’s going to initially be tough to quit, so it’s helpful to choose a time when you won’t be under any additional, added stress (for example, during a job change). However, it’s not always easy to determine what life will look like, and when stresses happen you may need extra support from friends or family.
Determine why you want to quit
Think about the motivation behind why you want to quit and make a list that you can look back on. Many people decide to quit due to the health risks involved, especially if a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding.
How to Deal with Your Cravings
The first couple weeks after quitting can be rough and a woman may experience uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, sleepiness, trouble focusing and mood changes.
Some tips for things to do when you develop a craving or urge to vape:
- practicing deep breathing
- playing a game or solving a crossword or number puzzle
- trying a short meditation
- texting a quit smoking program
- taking a quick walk or step outside for a change of scenery
Treatment at New Directions for Women
At New Directions for Women, we serve women of all ages with a history of trauma and multiple treatment episodes. We are one of a few organizations in the nation who treat women, pregnant women and women with children.
We know how much courage it takes to reach out for help. Addiction is a disease of denial, even when it is a struggle with smoking or nicotine. One popular myth is that people struggling with addiction must experience their “bottom” before they seek treatment. That does not have to be the case – we can help a woman where she is today to prevent any future wreckage from substance use disorder. Our caring staff have been helping women and families get sober from drugs and alcohol for over forty years and understand the pain caused by addiction. We can help you find your solution.