Teen Addiction: Nicotine

By Sophie Schwarz

Walking around the campus, you can almost always find a teenager with nicotine, usually in the form of a vape. The two most common places nicotine is found is in e-cigarettes such as vapes, and in any form of tobacco. Currently, one in ten middle school or high school students currently use e-cigarettes. Vapes are the most common form of nicotine for teenagers because of the buzz they provide and the unique flavors that they come in. The buzz that comes with the inhalation of nicotine is caused by the release of epinephrine which stimulates the body, leading to increased blood pressure and heart rate, and making you breathe harder. Nicotine also activates a specific part of your brain that makes you feel happy by stimulating the release of the hormone dopamine. Vapes come in many different flavors which appeal to teens because everyone can pick and choose flavors that are interesting to them. The style of vapes are also specifically designed to attract the younger generation because of their fun colors and designs – shaped like hard drives – that are easy to disguise. 

Despite its popularity, vaping can cause serious health problems such as lung, heart, brain damage, and in rare cases, death. Nicotine has been proven to be as addictive as cocaine or heroin, which makes nicotine addiction even more common and hard to break. Some common side effects of nicotine addiction can include strong cravings, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, frustration, anger, increased hunger, insomnia, constipation and diarrhea. One main reason teenagers begin vaping is peer pressure; influence from members of a group or friends can lead them to do something that they would not normally do, in this case, vaping. Some other reasons teenagers vape are the belief that it relieves stress or looks cool, to lose or control weight, easy access to vapes or e-cigarettes, and exposure to older family members who use tobacco. However, considering all the negative results of vaping and other forms of tobacco, say no to using nicotine.