So what is an E-Cigarette?
I’m sure you know it’s an electronic cigarette, also called a vape, that comes in various different sizes. A cigarette, once lit, burns tobacco leaves and produces a thick smoke that is responsible for causing tar in your lungs. What an E-cigarette aimed to do was remove the tobacco and heat a nicotine filled e-liquid to a controlled temperature so it doesn’t give out thick smoke, but an aerosol, commonly referred to as the “vapor”. However, the aerosol contains many chemicals that are present in the e-liquid itself, metals of the e-cigarette, as well as the battery and coils that are inside it. This aerosol is not only inhaled by the user, but is also exhaled out into the environment. Two important takeaways:
1. Aerosol not vapor
2. E-liquid contains nicotine; a highly addictive substance which is also found in cigarettes.
What about JUUL?
JUUL is one of the more famous brands of E-cigarettes that started out hiding their ingredients since- fun fact- E-cigarette manufacturers are technically not required to list all their ingredients (however, e-cigarette manufacturers have been given until 2020 to start doing so). And soon enough it was apparent that almost all E-cigarettes on the market have SOME amount of nicotine in them. Where as all JUULS contain nicotine.
Their website suggests the nicotine amount of one pod is equal to smoking an entire pack of cigarettes. So 200 puffs of a JUUL will give you nicotine worth 20 cigarettes.
What does vaping do to a teen brain?
To start with, teenage brains are not fully developed. Which means they’re readily changeable and moldable. One of the last areas that is still developing is the pre-frontal cortex right behind your forehead. This region is responsible for all the decision making, impulse control, problem solving aspects of thinking. Add nicotine into the mix and you end up getting a brain that is not ready to handle the effects of addiction and harming its development due to substance use. This potentially stunts brain growth.
What nicotine does is, it alters the pleasure centers of the brain. It releases more dopamine than normal which confuses the brain because you have an external source controlling it. So the brain now has the potential to get used to this feeling, think it is normal, which is why it will turn to nicotine more and more to feel normal, also harming itself in the process.
This might not sound dangerous but in reality, the nicotine interferes with the body’s entire natural ability to experience/communicate pleasure
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