The good news is that the rates of smoking are on the decline. In 2005, 21% of Americans were current smokers. In 2017, this has declined to 14%. This means that there are roughly 34 million Americans that still smoke and some 16 million Americans are dealing with a smoking related disease. There are still nearly 500,000 smoking related deaths each year from conditions such as various cancers, stroke, heart disease, asthma, gum disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

Vaping came onto the scene around 2007 and has become a trendy alternative to cigarette smoking. For some it is an attempt to get off cigarettes, who end up transferring their nicotine addiction to a vape device. For new users, they misperceive it as a safer alternative to cigarettes, but often find themselves addicted to nicotine nonetheless. For those who don’t know, vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol from an electronic cigarette (e-cig), vape pen, or other vape device such as the JUUL which looks similar to a USB flash drive. The JUUL product line now accounts for 70% of the vaping market and sells a variety of fruity flavors, coffee, or chocolate flavors some believe are targeted to youth. Most vape devices contain a mouthpiece, battery, a heating component, and a cartridge that hold the e-liquid or e-juice. The battery heats up the heating element, which converts the liquid into an aerosol that is inhaled and exhaled.

The e-liquid often contains a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid with nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals and metals. There is no tobacco, but the addictive agent, nicotine, is contained in the e-liquid. Some users will put THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) into the e-liquid and use the vaping device as a means of concealing and covering up their use. Unfortunately, in addition to still getting addicted to nicotine, most vape devices contain fine particles of toxic chemicals that have also been linked to cancers, and respiratory and lung diseases. Some contain elements including chemicals such as diacetyl—a flavorant linked to lung disease—harmful organic compounds, fine particles that can be inhaled, metals like nickel, tin, and lead. Although they have fewer harmful chemical than traditional cigarettes, they are far from safe.

The reality is that people struggling with mental health issues are more likely to use nicotine products, often in an attempt to cope with negative emotions or stressors in their lives. Although it may provide a brief escape, it does nothing to process difficult emotions or resolve life stressors. Instead of having one problem, many people end up with two problems; the original issue and now an addiction. If you want to talk with one of our therapists about better ways to cope and resolve problems in your life, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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