Many teens and adults in America are increasingly vaping. Advertisers of vape pens (e-cigarettes) claim that it is a safer alternative to smoking marijuana and nicotine, but Foothills at Red Oak Recovery knows the truth is different.
A gateway drug is a substance whose consumption leads to severe and risky behavior, especially drug and alcohol abuse. Some people advocate for the consumption of e-cigarettes to transition from ordinary smoking to quitting. However, e-cigs can produce undesirable effects, especially for those who are still experimenting with smoking. To learn more about these ill-effects or to enroll at a substance abuse treatment center, reach out to Foothills at Red Oak today at 866.300.5275.
Dangers of e-Cigarettes
Experts see a significant rise in adolescent e-cigarette use. In fact, the rates of vaping are higher than those of normal cigarettes. Unfortunately, these numbers may be somewhat alarming due to the impacts that vaping can have on your teen’s health, such as:
- Vaping may cause higher levels of heart and lung diseases.
- E-cigarettes contain a higher level of nicotine, which can put teens at risk of developing an addiction to nicotine.
- Higher levels of nicotine can hinder the development of your teen’s brain.
- Vaping exposes teens to harmful materials, such as heavy metals.
Because of these dangers and the number of teens who vape, there is an increased need to address e-cigarette use. However, there is another notable danger of vaping: some experts suggest that vaping and e-cigarette use can lead teens to abuse other substances, including alcohol, marijuana, and other dangerous substances.
How Vaping Is a Gateway Drug
Most people in the US, especially teenagers, hardly develop substance use disorders by experimenting with hard substances like street heroin or cocaine. Ordinarily, they start with marijuana and nicotine. Likewise, addictions to nicotine often begin with e-cigs. Vape pens serve as a getaway for the abuse of hard drugs.
E-cigs are not entirely safe because they heat artificial flavorings, nicotine, and other substances to form an aerosol. That is what gets into your system. While a regular tobacco cigarette contains more than 7,000 compounds — many of which are harmful and addictive—experts still do not know the chemical makeup of vape pens or their addictive aptitude. However, experts reveal that teens using e-cigarettes are at higher risk of shifting to ordinary cigarettes within a year.
Teens Are Getting Hooked on Nicotine
Among young people, vape pens are more common than all other old-style tobacco products. Reports reveal that about half of the new e-cigs consumers also attempt smoking regular tobacco. It means e-cigs act like other gateway drugs for millions of teens across America. The main reasons why e-cigarettes attract many adolescents include:
- Insufficient information about the dangers of electronic cigarettes
- Most teens wrongly believe that e-cigs are less harmful than regular nicotine cigarettes
- E-cigs are less expensive than old-fashioned cigarettes
- Vape cartridges appeal to adolescents because of enticing flavors, such as watermelon, mango, and apple pie
- Teens find the absence of smoke attractive, and since an e-cig leaves no smell, it decreases the stigma associated with smoking
- Vaping is easy to hide from parents when compared to ordinary smoking
- Peer pressure
Adolescents who would have never developed a dependency on tobacco in other circumstances are embracing the habit. The dilemma does not come when users convert from tobacco consumption to e-cigarettes, but rather when vape pens function as gateway drugs to smoking.
Increased Risk of Substance Use Disorders
Vape pens are not entirely safe, even if they are less toxic than ordinary cigarettes. They still contain potentially harmful substances. Research shows that long-term use of e-cigs can lead to some types of cancer.
While it is still early to understand the full health effects of e-cigarettes, available data show that it can lead to various conditions, including:
- Respiratory problems
- Stroke and heart attack
- Lung injuries
- Shortness of breath
- Neurological disorders, including seizures
- Nicotine poisoning
The pain from these conditions can force an individual to start using other harmful substances as a coping mechanism. For example, increasing the dose for prescription opioids to relieve vaping-instigated pain can lead to a dependency on opioids.
Rehab Can Help Your Teen Quit Substance Dependency
If your teen is abusing e-cigs, a rehab center can offer useful treatment options for the condition. For a holistic approach, rehab professionals may combine several therapies, including:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people recognize the links between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how those connections are affecting their lives.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps those struggling with emotional regulation, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and other difficulties. DBT focuses on the relationship between thoughts, emotions, and behaviors through mindfulness techniques and cognitive therapy.
Adventure therapy is a form of experiential and outdoor-based therapy that focuses on using nature, adventure, and physical activity in order to foster personal growth and development.
Group therapy focuses on group discussion and encourages individuals to share their experiences, perspectives, and feelings with each other in a supportive, non-judgmental environment.
Family therapy involves the entire family working together to identify and address issues. Therapists use various techniques, such as role-playing and communication exercises, to help family members build on their strengths, understand each other better, identify patterns of behavior that may be holding them back, and work toward resolving conflicts.
Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery for Addiction Treatment
Our rehab programs can help your teen overcome the habit of vaping and using other intoxicating substances. A combination of several therapies to create a customized treatment plan is a useful strategy. Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery at 866.300.5275 for help in organizing a professional intervention for your troubled teen.