Examining Main Motivating Factors Behind a Growing Trend
In thinking about the varying reasons you may begin or continue vaping, either with a strong motivation to quit or not, you may begin to at least ponder your reasons for continual use.
While we all have different motivating factors that may impact continuing to use nicotine vapes irrespective of the reason for starting, many of the most common themes and reasons for continuation seem to be correlated with factors such as perceived improvements in energy, mood regulation, anxiety suppression, and even appetite control. While you may consider cutting back on use, motivated by health, finances, or any other personal factors, it may be difficult to actually quit due to these perceived benefits.
In this article, we will examine some growing trends and factors correlated (bearing in mind correlation never equates to causation) to vaping. What stops us from stopping? What fuels the cravings from a psychological and sociological perspective? How, if so, is vaping related to mood, appetite, and energy?
Vaping and Energy
Former smokers may understand the need for a strong morning cup of coffee along with a cigarette, perhaps experiencing a transient sensation of reduced anxiety, coupled with a strong relief in psychological and physical cravings. It may also create a feeling of improved energy and stimulation. Counterintuitively, this is usually followed by a crash or feeling of exhaustion and loss of energy in the evening or at some point throughout the day. In terms of nicotine vaping, not a lot of research has gone into energy levels or subsequent improvements with the use of these devices.
With that in mind, there are certain brands of vape and juices that contain taurine, caffeine, amino acids, and natural extracts like guarana, designed to give you an instant boost in energy and improve overall cognitive functioning, akin to a strong cup of coffee or energy drink.
However, for those of us who vape frequently, most of us have probably noticed a certain sense of improved energy, especially when paired with coffee, that often allows for more efficient management of time at work. It does seem as if there is an instant boost of stimulation from the nicotine, however it is free of the crash at the end of the day you would typically experience with regular cigarettes. There is generally less actual nicotine absorbed into the bloodstream and lungs in comparison with traditional cigarettes as well.
It is important to denote, none of this is to condone the use of nicotine vaping products or juices in a general sense, it is merely an examination of some of the main motivating factors for current users who cannot seem to quit the habit, irrespective of a desire to stop or not.
Vaping and Appetite
Besides potential improvements in energy levels (based on perception or reality) some users will also notice decreases in appetite levels or use vaping as a weight management or maintenance technique, as nicotine tends to suppress the appetite. In both women and men, this may be a potentially important factor in the election to stop vaping or continuing.
One of the major reasons people often cite in avoiding quitting traditional smoking altogether is the fear of weight gain that’s often associated with cessation. Those same former smokers may find themselves transitioning into nicotine vaping products as an alternative (often considered much healthier, and generally this is accepted as fact despite enough research on longterm vaping effects on the body), in an attempt that may prove successful in weight maintenance.
We are also noticing growing trends, especially in younger generations and the 18-24 year old (and even younger) demographic vaping without ever having been smokers in the first place. In fact, the majority of youth trying these products for the first time are not current or former smokers, and may have never even tried smoking in the first place or during their lifetimes. With that in mind, especially taking into consideration trends with young women and men , the latter particularly associated with certain sports such as wrestling activities, body image issues and a desire to achieve a lower or even unhealthy weight may be a motivating factor in the election to start and continue using these products.
It is also very important to note that if you find yourself in this situation or dealing with issues related to food and body image, it’s always wise to keep hydrated (such is true for anyone who vapes), and to consider reaching out to someone immediately who may be able to provide support and care, as it is never advisable to attempt weight loss via methods that can create negative health consequences and serious medical issues, on both a shorter and longterm basis.
Unfortunately the feeling of “invincibility” that commonly plagues youth can deter young people from seeking needed help for a multitude of issues, but it’s incredibly important to find support without fear of judgment if you are struggling with unhealthy weight loss or any other common problems that we’d normally, often incorrectly, assume would be matched with judgment.
While the research is still very limited in the vaping category in general, with respect to everything from health consequences to the general impact on mood and energy, it is supported by scientific and medical evidence that nicotine does suppress the appetite. So if you are a current smoker simply seeking to avoid weight gain or avoid falling into an unhealthy weight category, it is absolutely possible to avoid quitting while smoking.
While this can certainly be done via the “cold turkey” method as well with improvements or even minor adjustments in diet and exercise levels, some may opt to use nicotine vaping products to assist with the process as well.
So for many smokers, using an equivalent amount of nicotine in conjunction with caffeine for coffee drinkers (within the limits of recommended daily doses), may be helpful in avoiding any weight gain. And while the research is still pending and currently in clinical trial phases (with respect to vaping products), at this juncture we can definitely assert that they are definitely a healthier option that cigarette smoking, and a way to avoid ingesting several thousand harmful chemicals at once every day.
It is also important to bear in mind that a lot of, if not the majority of weight gain associated with quitting smoking can be attributed to boredom and trying to replace old behaviors, so simply quitting with slight adjustments in exercise is always feasible without nicotine replacement items as well.
Most former smokers who turn to vaping will notice improvements in energy levels and the lack of lethargy experienced with heavy smoking at the end of the day, as we’ve come to accept that while in the moment smoking may alleviate feelings of anxiety and act as a stimulant (that ironically temporarily reduces anxiety while also improving feelings of energy, while ultimately creating a rebound effect later), it will not alleviate anxiety in a longer-term sense and does not serve as a treatment for the condition.
Vaping and Mood
Does vaping alleviate anxiety or improve mood levels at all? If you suffer from generalized anxiety or simply experience transient feelings of stress, are nicotine vapes a suitable solution to relieve these feelings?
First, it is important to note that if you suffer from a degree of clinical anxiety that impacts your life in one or several areas, it is highly important to contact your doctor or seek help and treatment, as vaping products are certainly not designed to treat clinical or medical levels of anxiety (be it generalized anxiety disorder, stress related to trauma, or obsessive-compulsive disorder). These are all issues that always require medical supervision, therapy, or reaching out for help.
If you are simply searching for a solution to deal with job stress or lower grades of anxiety, according to Depression Health Net and other online psychology sources and sites, smoking itself increases the risk for developing anxiety, rather than acting as a solution. Switching from smoking to vaping may, in fact, alleviate symptoms of anxiety, and while vaping is still correlated with anxiety and an increased risk of developing anxiety, the correlation between nicotine consumption via vaping is much lower than with the use of traditional tobacco products and smoking itself.
It is theorized that this may be due to carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes.
Chemicals contained in cigarettes may create respiratory disorders and conditions like COPD, which can in turn create panic attacks and feelings of increased anxiety, along with shortness of breath and feelings of suffocation. With that in mind, this certainly serves as a message to current smokers that there are several very significant reasons to attempt to quit in any way possible, and that if vaping can assist the process or is the only way to do so, it’s likely medically advisable to attempt this.
So, while the jury may still be out in terms of a significant body of research on vaping in relation to overall longterm health consequences, we can assert that in comparison with traditional cigarette smoking, there may be some benefits with respect to improvements in anxiety levels and mood, energy, and prevention of weight gain via a shift to vaping.
Due to the jury still being out on longterm effects, this suggestion is one of harm avoidance, and it should be noted that it’s always advisable (and possible) to quit without the need for any nicotine replacement products.
However for those who do require a step down method or transition after smoking, vaping can certainly be a great alternative in terms of improvements in the topics we’ve mentioned, as well as a better overall health alternative for the vast majority of regular smokers.