A study of over 2,500 people aged between 13 and 24 found that vapers of nicotine, THC, or both, were more likely to report symptoms of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, when compared to their non-vaping peers.
Data gathered across the globe keep indicating that mental health patients are more likely to smoke than individuals who do not suffer from psychological or psychiatric conditions. Moreover, these individuals are more likely to find it harder to quit. To this effect, they benefit greatly from having extra support in relation to smoking cessation and access to safer alternatives, that would at least lessen the chances of them also suffering from smoke-related conditions.
However, the current study found that approximately 60% of the participants who vaped nicotine, THC or both, experienced anxiety symptoms, versus about 40% of participants who never vaped. Anxiety symptoms were mostly reported among THC-only vapers. The findings will be presented at the Association’s Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023, which is being held in Boston this week.
“Younger people have long been vulnerable to tobacco use, may experience greater harm from nicotine and other drugs and may be targeted by tobacco advertisers and marketers,” said study author Joy Hart, Ph.D., a professor of communication at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. “E-cigarette devices are still relatively new compared to other tobacco products, such as combustible cigarettes and pipes, so more research is needed to try to better understand the popularity of e-cigarettes, including reasons for vaping and the associated health risks among youth.”
A 2021 article on the Psychiatrist Times said that risky components such as zinc, lead, chromium, manganese, and copper, have all been identified in various vaping products. Written by Dr. Catherine Striley, an associate professor and Director in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Florida. The piece added that while most ingredients found in e-liquids are safe to ingest, they may cause harm in the lungs and cardiovascular system.
Moreover adds the article, nicotine vaping products also come with the risk of nicotine addiction. To this effect, Striley seems to be of the opinion that vaping should be tackled as another addiction, failing to consider e-cigarettes as effective NRTs.
“Nicotine vaping products increase the risk for the same health consequences as any other nicotine exposure: subsequent development of a nicotine addiction; priming for use of other substances; changes in attention, cognition, and impulse control; and increased risk of developing mood disorders. The risk is compounded by the ready availability of vape juices and e-liquids with high concentrations of nicotine, beyond what is found in traditional tobacco products.”