What is Vaping?
A vaping device is also known as an e-cigarette, electronic delivery system or e-vaporizer. They are devices that are battery-operated and used for people to inhale a vapor that contains certain stimulants and/or chemicals, and other flavorings typically with nicotine (but not always).
Vaping devices can look similar to any other form of traditional tobacco products such as pipes, cigars, cigarettes, or even household items such as memory sticks or pens.
E-cigarettes, although different than regular tobacco cigarettes, can be very harmful for youth, pregnant women, young adults as well as others who have never used tobacco products. Many women at New Directions for Women suffer from addiction to tobacco products. It can be extremely addictive and a difficult habit to break, but the highly trained professionals at our facility can help.
Common nicknames for vaping devices include:
- Mods (customizable, more powerful vaporizers)
- Vape pens
- Hookah pens
How does Vaping Effect the Brain?
When a person vapes using an e-cigarette, the nicotine and other substances in e-liquids are absorbed into the lungs and body rather quickly, entering the bloodstream. When it enters the bloodstream, it stimulates the adrenal glands which in turn, releases the hormone epinephrine or better known as adrenaline.
“Epinephrine stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood pressure, breathing, and heart rate. As with most addictive substances, nicotine activates the brain’s reward circuits and also increases levels of a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine, which reinforces rewarding behaviors.”
Despite the risk that it poses to a woman’s health, the reaction to the nicotine in the brain, and the reward receptors causes them to want more and more of it. This can cause a woman to become addicted and have a difficult time quitting.
Is Vaping Safer than Smoking Cigarettes?
Although, there has been some research that shows that vaping can be somewhat less harmful than regular tobacco cigarettes, they are still highly addictive. Someone who switches over completely from regular cigarettes to e-cigarettes may receive some benefits and less harmful effects, but nicotine in any form is addictive and harmful to the body.
“Also, e-cigarette use exposes the lungs to a variety of chemicals, including those added to e-liquids, and other chemicals produced during the heating/vaporizing process. A study of some e-cigarette products found the vapor contains known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, as well as potentially toxic metal nanoparticles from the device itself.”
The study indicated that chemicals such as nickel and chromium were found in high levels in the e-cigarettes, specifically from the nichrome heating coils of the vaporizing device. Another chemical, cadmium, was found in low quantities which could cause breathing problems or other diseases.
Vaping During Pregnancy
E-cigarettes and vaping devices are not regulated in any way, shape or form which means they can be extremely harmful, especially when a woman is pregnant. Along with not being regulated, there is no way to know exactly what chemicals or how much of a substance is being used in the device. E-cigarettes have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and there are no known studies to show if they are safe or not.
“The Food and Drug Administration recommends that pregnant people shouldn’t use any vaping product, regardless of the substance.”
If you are struggling with using e-cigarettes or other vaporizing devices, contact someone at New Directions for Women. Our highly trained and compassionate staff treat all women who are struggling with substance use disorders, including tobacco products.
Is Vaping During Pregnancy Okay?
Many women will seek ways to quit or cut back on their nicotine habit, especially during pregnancy because of the fear of harming the baby and child to come. It is common knowledge that smoking during pregnancy can be a dangerous thing to do and potentially cause problems for the unborn fetus.
Pregnant women who are vaping, as opposed to smoking real cigarettes, believe this to be less harmful to their unborn child, than regular cigarette smoking. Often, they don’t know if what they are using even contains nicotine. They may also think that the vaporizing devices will help them quit or reduce their cigarette smoking habit.
Harmful Effects to the Fetus
E-cigarettes often contain nicotine, a stimulant that can be extremely harmful to a growing fetus and could cause damage to the developing brain and lungs. Nicotine is a toxic, addictive substance that can be toxic to a growing baby both during reproduction and interfering with fetal brain development. It can also increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and adversely affect fetal lung development.
“Smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, dissolvable tobacco, snuff, and snus (a moist form of snuff) have been associated with stillbirth, preterm delivery, and infant apnea when used during pregnancy. As such, it is best to avoid using e-cigarettes or other nicotine-containing products during pregnancy.”
There have been some known therapies such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) that can help with quitting the use of tobacco. Some of the FDA approved therapies include nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers and nasal sprays.
Getting Help at New Directions for Women
New Directions for Women is available to treat women who are struggling with e-cigarettes or vaping. 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.
Being pregnant and addicted to drugs can be an overwhelming matter to handle. Emotions are high and emotional stability may be low. A pregnant woman may not be able to handle the added stress or emotions that come along with pregnancy. That goes even more for women who are suffering from an addiction.
Common Barriers for Women in Recovery
Women may experience many barriers when it comes to getting treatment for any given substance use disorder, including tobacco. Some of the following are common barriers that make it challenging for women to get help with their addiction:
- Financial dependency or homelessness
- Support from family members
- Mental health disorders
- Shame or guilt
Does Treatment for Vaping Work?
Finding out the core reason to why you want to quit using tobacco will help you in being successful with quitting the harmful habit. Is it due to health reasons? Are you wanting to quit because you are pregnant? These factors will help determine the best course of treatment for each individual woman.
Typically, tobacco addiction can be treated with replacement drug therapies as well as some behavioral therapies.
If you are looking for a vaping treatment center for women, contact the team at New Directions for Women for addiction therapy and treatment help.