Vaping devices, also known as e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes, tank systems, and electronic nicotine delivery systems, are used to inhale aerosols. Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, pipes, pens, or USB drives. They contain a heating element to vaporize a liquid that can include flavour compounds, nicotine, or cannabis-derived compounds such as tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Although not approved by the FDA, they are often used as an aid to quit smoking Electronic cigarette.

Popularity Among Teens and Young Adults

E-cigarettes are popular among teens and young adults. The CDC reported that 19.6% of high school students and 4.7% of middle schoolers currently use e-cigarettes. Many reported using it on a daily basis. More than half of the students reported using flavoured e-cigarettes. Some of the flavours used may be harmful when heated and inhaled in the form of an aerosol.

The Role of Social and Peer Pressure

Social or peer pressure has been reported as one of the most common reasons for increased use by adolescents. The marketing strategies and misinformation on social media deceive the public on the use of nicotine-containing products.

Perceived Safety vs. Actual Risks

Vape products are perceived as a safe and harmless alternative to combustible cigarettes. However, e-cigarette aerosols aren’t harmless. They can contain potentially harmful substances, including heavy metals. The ultrafine particles inhaled have been known to cause lung damage.

The Impact of Vaping on Mental Health

“Vaping may seem like a harmless alternative to smoking, but it’s important to understand the potential risks to both your physical and mental health. Make informed choices and seek professional advice if needed.” – IGET Australia

Impact on Mental Health

Nicotine affects the physical and mental health of smokers. The impact on mental health has been overshadowed by concerns about physical health. Contrary to popular belief, the nicotine content in some vaping devices is much higher than in combustible cigarettes. Some nicotine pods, like the Juul pod, contain as much nicotine as one pack of cigarettes.

Researchers have studied several mental health issues associated with vaping in adolescents and young adults. Dependence on nicotine has been associated with impulsivity, mood disorders, anxiety, suicidality, and depression. The highly addictive nicotine has been studied and reported to affect certain brain regions that pose a risk for long-term damage as well.

Vaping is often used as a coping strategy by individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions. However, it could potentially worsen existing mental health conditions. Nicotine interrupts the cerebral dopamine pathway, leading to an increase in depressive symptoms.

Nicotine also increases sensitivity to stress and alters the coping mechanism in the brain. These changes lead to an increased dose-response relationship, meaning an increase in symptoms with increased exposure to nicotine. Depression and vaping, in particular, have been shown to have a bidirectional association Health effects of electronic cigarettes.

Treatment and Prevention Strategies

Those who want to quit smoking cigarettes should seek advice from their healthcare provider instead of self-prescribing e-cigarettes. Pharmacological (nicotine replacement therapy) and behavioural treatment aim to effectively reduce withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, several evidence-based prevention programs educate teenagers on the potential harm of vaping. One such program, CATCH My Breath, has successfully reached out to millions of school-aged children.

Prevention strategies can help reduce the chances of vaping-related illnesses and improve the overall health of communities.


Vaping is associated with several mental health issues, including impulsivity, mood disorders, anxiety, suicidality, and depression. While it is often used as a coping strategy by individuals with mental health conditions, it could potentially worsen existing conditions. It is crucial to seek advice from healthcare providers and consider evidence-based prevention programs to reduce the risks associated with vaping.