Regardless of which side of the debate you come down on, these days there is a national discussion taking place on the use of e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers. You see evidence of it every time a new vape shop opens its doors, a private business bans their use, or a governing body passes legislation on them as if they were analogous to traditional cigarettes or tobacco products.
This is a guest post by Andrew H. All content including links and opinions are those of the author alone.
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People are wondering if they’re a healthier alternative to cigarettes, or if they can help them quit smoking. Others want to ban them altogether. However, there is one key question that is often left out of this important debate, and that is, are e-cigarettes good for your mental health?
You may wonder why this would be an aspect of the e-cigarette debate at all, but deeper reflection reveals that nicotine, cigarettes, and the ritual of smoking have been linked to mental health for many years. But why would this be?
A History of Health
You may be surprised to learn that nicotine has a long history of being used as a treatment for mental illness. Many studies report that it can actually suppress the symptoms of several mental health problems, including ADHD, depression, and schizophrenia. This is just one of the reasons that persons with mental illness are more likely to self medicate with nicotine. In fact, in a study published by JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, persons with mental illness are twice as likely to smoke as those with no mental illness.
Sharpen Your Mind
The reason nicotine can help diminish these symptoms is simple; nicotine triggers the release of a wide range of neurotransmitters, including serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and glutamate. These improve mood, concentration, and even memory. What’s more is that nicotine can alleviate anxiety and reduce pain. So it’s easy to see why nicotine has a history of use treating mental health disorders.
Avoid the Smoke
However, nicotine delivery systems are typically anything but healthy. It’s just common sense that the adverse health effects of smoking cigarettes far outweigh any benefits nicotine may offer. The connection between nicotine and harmful tobacco has made it difficult to rationally discuss nicotine as a treatment for mental health.
Good for Your Mind
Which brings us back to our original question: Are e-cigarettes good for your mental health? The answer is definitively yes. E-cigarettes and vaporizers can act as delivery vehicles for nicotine that don’t include all the deadly tar and carcinogens associated with the burning of tobacco. People who use e-cigarettes receive all the benefits of nicotine for their mood, memory, and anxiety but without all the risks associated with smoke inhalation.
E-cigarettes and vaporizers provide a tobacco-less delivery system for nicotine. Plus, the physical act of inhaling and exhaling deeply can help facilitate relaxation and concentration. Get all the mental benefits of nicotine without the harmful effects of burning tobacco with a vape starter kit. So the next time you get involved in the great national e-cigarette debate, tell ‘em it’s good for your mental health.