Is vaping considered a drug?

Is vaping considered a drug?

In recent years vaping has grown significantly in popularity for various age groups. Vaping was initially designed as an alternative for individuals who smoke to help them slowly stop smoking altogether. However, recently individuals have begun using e-cigarettes or vapes even if they do not have a smoking addiction. This has caused vaping to come under scrutiny and be labeled a gateway drug to substances such as tobacco and marijuana. Everyone who decides to start vaping must thoroughly understand the possible side effects and health complications that can arise.

The act of vaping is not viewed as a drug; however, the product contained within the vape contains rather harmful substances such as nicotine and marijuana. These substances are known to negatively impact young adults’ lives and their physical and mental health. 

What makes vaping dangerous?

Experts have begun seeing a significant rise in teenagers using vapes, increasing exponentially quicker than individuals utilizing regular cigarettes. The worrying factor is that these young adults are not aware of the impacts vaping can have on their health. Vaping has been seen to affect the following:

  • Causing higher levels of lung and heart disease
  • Exposing young adults to harmful materials such as heavy metals
  • E-cigarettes and vapes contain a high level of nicotine, which place individuals at risk of developing an addiction to nicotine
  • The chemicals can hinder young adults’ brain development inside the vape

E-cigarette and vape use exposes the lungs to various chemicals, including those added to e-liquids and other chemicals produced during the heating/vaporizing process. A study of some e-cigarette and vape products found the vapor contains known carcinogens and toxic substances chemicals, as well as potentially harmful metal nanoparticles from the device itself. 

Is vaping a gateway drug?

A gateway drug is a habit-forming which causes the individual to develop rather dangerous habits such as alcohol or drug abuse. Many young individuals are known to start experimenting with nicotine or marijuana before jumping to harder addictive drugs such as cocaine and heroin. 

The National Institutes of Health have collected data surrounding vaping nicotine and the correlation between other, more addictive drugs. Research has discovered that individuals who utilize e-cigarettes and vapes are at a significantly greater risk of cocaine abuse later in life, with the potential risk of the individual developing a full-blown cocaine addiction. 

One study by a medical scientist created an experiment involving mice in which they gave them drinking water laced with nicotine for seven days. When the mice were later exposed to cocaine, the mice showed an increase in inactivity. Furthermore, there was evidence of long-term potentiation, which modifies the brain’s signal process.

Why are teens more at risk for vaping?

Vaping among young adults and teenagers has quickly become the ‘in thing’ to try. Teenagers and young adults are surrounded by peer pressure, so it is not surprising that there is an increased rate of vaping. There is a strong desire for individuals to fit in with their peers and friends. 

However, vaping poses a range of dangers for young adults and teenagers, mainly due to their brains, not 100% being fully developed at their age. Exposing an individual’s brain to the harmful substances can have many long and short term consequences; it is not uncommon for young adults and teenagers to experience the following: 

  • Challenges with learning and paying attention
  • Difficulties making decisions 
  • Difficulties with impulse control
  • Challenges with the development of mood disorders
  • Addiction to nicotine

Increased risk of substance use disorders

Vapes are not as safe as most people think; while they are slightly less harmful than regular cigarettes, they still contain many toxic substances. Research shows that the long-term use of vapes or e-cigarettes can lead to several different types of cancers. 

Due to the limited amount of time vapes have been around, medical scientists are still researching vapes’ full long-term health effects. However, the available data has shown that vapes can lead to severe long term conditions such as:

  • Lung injuries
  • Nicotine poisoning
  • Shortness of breath
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Strokes
  • Neurological disorders
  • Seizures
  • Heart attacks 

If an individual develops one of the above conditions, it can be an opening pathway for the individual to abuse harder, more addictive substances to cope with the mental and physical pain associated with withdrawal from nicotine. 

How Shoreline Recovery Center can help with addiction

While the act of vaping is not considered a drug, the majority of individuals believe that vaping may help lower their nicotine cravings when attempting to quit smoking. However, the vape itself contains high nicotine levels and has not been proven by the FDA to aid an individual quit in the long term. 

At Shoreline Recovery Center, we offer a variety of programs for anyone who may be struggling with addiction in any capacity. It is crucial to find a rehab program and plan that works for you and the goals you are working towards; our treatment programs blend evidence-based therapies, clinical best practices, and opportunities to expand job skills and training. Our team of specialists will not only work with you and your addiction but also with any underlying mental health issues.  


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