Vaping and Nicotine: A Guide to Understanding Addiction

    For several decades now, nicotine has been seen as a dirty word, inextricably attached to the concept of smoking cigarettes. While it’s true that nicotine is the most significant addictive ingredient in tobacco, it’s a little more complicated than you might think.


    It turns out that while it is highly addictive, nicotine itself isn’t necessarily so bad for you – it’s the other things in cigarette smoke that are harmful. If you can get your hit of nicotine through another medium, then you can substantially reduce the amount of harm you’re doing to your body.

    The effects of nicotine

    Nicotine is a chemical that’s found naturally in the tobacco plant. It’s a highly addictive stimulant, that some researchers have compared to caffeine. When you ingest nicotine, it releases certain chemicals in the brain, like dopamine, causing a slight ‘high’. This forms part of the physical addiction, and is why a lot of people start to smoke in the first place.

    Do vapes have nicotine?

    The liquid contained in most vapes that people inhale, do tend to contain a certain amount of nicotine. Instead of burning a leaf and inhaling toxic smoke, vapes heat liquid to a certain temperature using battery-powered coils, allowing people to then inhale that vapour.


    As it’s far easier to control the ingredients in vape juices than in tobacco, it’s a lot easier to make sure that it’s relatively harmless for the body.

    Can you still get addicted to vapes?

    You can get addicted to any source of nicotine, whether you get it through cigarettes, nicotine chewing gum, or vapes. You can develop two different kinds of dependence – physical and psychological.


    The physical effects include getting headaches and nauseous when you can’t get a source of nicotine; the psychological effects on the other hand can be sparked by stress or other similar experiences.

    Controlling nicotine levels

    One of the reasons why it can be difficult to cut back from cigarettes is that you can’t slowly change the amount of nicotine in your tobacco. This makes it harder to slowly stop, making the negative effects of withdrawal far more severe.


    With vapes on the other hand, you have complete control over how much nicotine there is in your e-liquid. You can start off with a relatively high concentration of vape juice, and then slowly bring it down until you’re using a vape with practically no nicotine in it at all. This makes it a highly effective tool to use if you’re serious about quitting smoking.

    Getting help

    Nicotine addiction is serious, and it’s important for your physical health that you stop smoking as soon as possible. There are a wide range of resources that you can get help from such as the free NHS app. It’s a journey that you’ll likely need support with, and it’s crucial to recognise the importance of seeking help.


    By understanding what makes cigarettes so addictive, you can arm yourself with the tools to help you quit for good. Vaping can play an important role in that journey, and it’s important to make use of all the help you can get.

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