Bryn’s Experience with Vaping
How I got into vaping:
I chose vaping as this month’s health topic because I have experienced the negative side effects of vaping first-hand. In my senior year of college, I got addicted to smoking cigarettes when I was going through a rough time. Smoking quickly became a way to coddle myself and feel relaxed, similar to how a baby sucks their pacifier when they’re distressed. I then learned about the Juul and quickly transitioned to e-cigarettes which was my way of starting to try quitting nicotine, but the exact opposite happened.
Because the Juul and other disposable vapes had such sweet, candy-like flavors, I started smoking more frequently because it was easy and it tasted good. I would wake up and vape, go to the bathroom during work just to vape, vape before and after working out, and vape to go to sleep. Unknowingly, I was smoking a pack a day and throwing $100+ a week towards this addiction. I found myself finding excuses to vape, lying to my peers about vaping, and freaking out when I lost my device. In all honesty, I felt like I didn’t own a vape, the vape owned me.
How vaping negatively affected my body:
Reality started to dawn on me in 2018 after I visited my OBGYN for my regular pap smear and the doctor notified me that I was at risk for cervical cancer at the young age of 22. In that same year, I constantly began to break out in painful cold sores and canker sores all over my mouth every other week. I was shocked and frustrated that my body was turning against me in these ways since I was eating a mainly vegan diet and working out regularly at the time.
One day, I had the worst cold sore outbreak to date where I was forced to see a doctor at Urgent Care. My case was so severe that I couldn’t eat anything, drink water, or sleep because the pain was unbearable. Once I told the doctor about all my issues and mentioned that I vaped, he immediately pinpointed that as the cause. Now that I knew the problem, the next challenge was stopping which is so much harder than people make it out to be. I relapsed numerous times over the next two years and continued to ignore my health because my mind’s craving for nicotine always overtook my voice of reason.
How I quit Vaping:
I had a lot of great friends to support me through this journey but to be honest, I still battle the repercussions everyday. After quitting, there were many days of moodiness, hot flashes, headaches, and anxiety. My lungs are still damaged from years of vaping and I need to push myself in workouts a lot harder than I used to. I still find myself being tempted when I pass a smoke shop or see other people vaping at parties. However, I’m happy to say that I finally don’t purchase vapes for myself or crave them any longer.
What is Vaping?
Definition: Inhaling a battery-powered device with nicotine juice that simulates smoking real cigarettes.
Vaping is a new form of smoking cigarettes that was originally invented to help smokers fight their addiction. One Juul pod is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes. One puff bar is equivalent to 20 packs of cigarettes.
Ingredients in a vape or e-liquid juice: (from vapedanger.com)
The extremely addictive component of vapes and cigarettes that increase your blood pressure and heart rate in the short-term, but can cause lung diseases long-term.
Inhaling diacetyl has been linked to irreversible lung damage in factory workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Exposure to heavy metals may cause flu-like symptoms, lung damage, and even cancer in some cases.
If inhaled, ultrafine particles may damage the respiratory and cardiovascular (heart) system and other parts of the body.
Volatile Organic Compounds:
These compounds may put people at risk for many health problems, such as cancer and heart damage.
How Vaping is getting young children to start smoking:
Studies have shown that due to the vaping industry’s enticing flavor offerings, more people are starting to smoke starting at a younger age. According to the FDA, the number of middle school and high schoolers using vapes surged when disposables were introduced into the market. In 2019, only ~2% of high schoolers and ~3% of middle schoolers had tried disposable vapes. In 2020, this statistic skyrocketed to 26.5% for high schoolers and 15.2% for middle schoolers. Today, there are 3.6 million middle and high schoolers who are currently vaping in the U.S.
The human brain is still in development until age 25, meaning partaking in vaping toxic chemicals can cause issues in adolescent brain growth.
Ways to Quit:
Find your WHY:
I stumbled upon a story of a women who found out her spine was damaged due to vaping and she may have problems walking at an early age because of this. As someone who wants to do many things in life such as exercise, travel, have a family, and adventure, I could never forgive myself for sacrificing my future dreams for an addiction. I constantly remember that story as a reminder for why I quit.
Pinpoint your triggers:
I noticed that I always resorted to smoking when I was bored, hungry, stressed out, and drinking alcohol. Being conscious of these triggers and replacing them with a healthier substitute was my saving grace. Instead, I chewed a lot of gum or drank water when I felt the urge to smoke my vape.
Physically remove the vape from your life:
Do NOT let yourself by any more vapes! Throw away all smoking devices that could tempt you. Ask a friend to be your accountability partner if you have to.
Sweat it out!
When you sweat, your body is naturally detoxifying itself. You will find yourself sweating anyway when your body is adjusting to the change of not smoking anymore but you can speed up this process by exercising. I found hot yoga and sitting in saunas extremely beneficial. Find out all the benefits of exercise and our favorite ways to workout here!
Eat a plant-based diet:
Quitting smoking means your mouth will be a lot less busy and your body will crave high fat and sugary foods. You can support your body in returning back to normal by eating a diet of clean, whole foods. Find out our favorite plant based protein sources and recipes here!