Smoking and Vaping

September 1, 2015

Drug Testing Articles


By John Horton, Multimedia Specialist

   There are many old “home remedies” that are supposed to help a person kick the habit of smoking. Over the years, it has been anywhere between keeping your hands busy to chewing on toothpicks. It would only work until the next strong urge to smoke came creeping over and before you know it, one smoke led to two, then four, and eventually a whole pack. Totally destroying the work you put into stopping the addiction from taking over. Although it can be a struggle from time to time, eventually you can stop with the proper help.

But just having the knowledge that cigarettes can be harmful isn’t really enough motivation to quit. Smoking is without a doubt a powerful addiction, and breaking that addiction requires an act of strength and the will to overcome the urges from situations in which they occur. To help combat the urges, some people have come up with a list of reasons why not to smoke and keep it with them in the same spot where he or she used to carry the pack of cigarettes. That way, when they would feel the urge to smoke, they could reach into that pocket and get the list of reasons on why not to.

I know that isn’t the “Cure all, End All” and if you are serious about quitting, some other steps could be to:

  • Be aware of any routine situations will trigger the urge for smoking a cigarette (Coffee, alcohol, second hand smoking, end of meals, ect).
  • Should you experience a crisis while trying to quit, just remind yourself that smoking will not solve the issue at hand and that it will just mean a relapse into the nicotine addiction.
  • Let everyone know you are giving up the habit (you could get some support that way).
  • Practice some deep breathing techniques to help you overcome your cravings.

You could try nicotine replacement therapy to help you deal with the cravings. For that, you’ll need to have a discussion with your medical physician. However, if you have a lot of pent-up energy and are looking for something else to do, try doing a little house and yard work. Anytime you feel the urge coming on, just tell yourself that you have to wait 10 minutes. That way, it will give you enough time to get entertained by something else. Maybe think about replacing one habit with a new hobby to help distract you from these cravings.

SmokingDespite making great strides to reduce smoking, tobacco is still our biggest killer. In a change that is growing more popular as a way to ingest nicotine without smoking, there is a movement among people switching to electronic cigarettes (a.k.a. vaping) as an escape from tobacco, but still use nicotine in their flavored liquids. A person uses a vaporizer to heat the flavored liquid containing nicotine, then causing the liquid to turn into vapor, which the user then can inhale like a cigarette. Popular brands may allow the user to regulate the devices voltage.

Not all experts agree, but some have said that the e-liquids that contain nicotine content could lead users to become addicted to e-cigs, or that it could even serve as a gateway to other drugs, despite the fact they may cost less, cause fewer negative feelings, and can help reduce cravings. Over a 6 month study and the evaluation of about 135 smokers, research revealed that nicotine in the liquid was “free-base” form (most addictive), only one of the three kinds actually absorbed by the body. Although its concentration is varied, it didn’t always match the labels description.

Some experts would stress that vaping is safer than smoking, but there are some serious health risks associated with the activity. E-cigarettes and traditional tobacco smoking is likely to increase support for regulators to treat vaping the same as traditional cigarettes. Last year alone, electronic cigarette use had tripled and hookah usage doubled among U.S. teenagers. Good news is that less of them are lighting up traditional cigarettes when compared to the previous years.

Back in 2012, research had shown that about 9 million people aged 12 and older have used smokeless tobacco at least once in the United States alone, with more than 5.5% of them aged 18 to 25 admitting to be current users. About 46% of them were younger than 18 when they first used it. That goes with the CDC’s 2012 National Youth Tobacco Survey, where they show that smokeless tobacco usage among high school kids is even higher than for young adults.

Their findings revealed approximately 11% of male and 1.5% of female high school students who participated had admitted to partaking some flavor of smokeless tobacco before the survey. Other evidence showed another 4% of males and 1% of females had used snus (smokeless, flavored tobacco product very different from snuff that doesn’t make you spit when placed between cheek and gum), while 1% of males and 0.6% of females had used dissolvable tobacco.

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. They also stated that just over 2% of the boys and 1% of the girls in middle schools admitted to using smokeless tobacco at least once in the 30 days prior to participating in the survey. When it came to snus, it was 1% of boys and 0.6% of girls. Dissolvable tobacco ended up being used by 0.7% of the boys and 0.4% of the girls. It’s so sad that our children are experimenting with any tobacco products at such young ages.

Technically, any kind of “flavorings” are not allowed in cigarettes; however the tobacco industry offers them in smokeless tobacco. With it tasting more like candy by using flavors such as vanilla, mint, and chocolate, or even fruit) makes it more appealing to kids who don’t realize and understand the serious life threatening dangers of tobacco products. There are other factors that seem to have some sort of connection to underage use of tobacco products, including:

  • Examples set by parents (kids see what their parents do and they think it’s okay)
  • Peer pressure (doing it to “fit in” with their friends or social groups)
  • Lifestyle (mostly social)
  • General attitudes toward authority figures (parents or guardians)
  • Examples set by teachers and school staff (among other role models)

All these factors can contribute to declining health in a child at a time they need a strong body and mind for productive growth. Exposure to nicotine at a young age can harm brain development and predispose children to future tobacco use. If a child is experimenting with e-cigarettes, they open up themselves to a mixer of toxic chemicals in the form of an aerosol. Those chemicals travel through the circulatory system, including to the brain and all the organs.

Additional research has been released supporting the idea that e-cigarettes could very well be just as addicting, if not more than, traditions cigarettes. Outside of Nicotine, a recent study has shown that many e-cig flavors contain Formaldehyde. In case you are wondering, Formaldehyde is a degradation product of propylene glycol. It reacts with glycerol during vaporization to produce hemiacetals, an industrial biocide. Other aldehydes include acrolein and acetaldehyde. Three chemicals that could cause serious issues if consumed over a long period of time.

Speaking of chemicals, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) is reporting a rise in calls about e-cigarette device exposure, including liquid nicotine. More than half of the reports (1,983 from January 1st through July31st) have involved children under the age of 6 years old becoming very ill with nausea and vomiting, which in turn causes them to be admitted in the Emergency Room. Doctors suggest that if you use E-cig liquid, you should:

  • Protect your skin while handling products,
  • Always keep devices and liquid nicotine bottles locked up or out of reach of children,
  • Follow the specific disposal instructions on the label of the liquid’s container,
  • If you think someone has been exposed to liquid nicotine or the device, call the Poison Center at (800) 222-1222.

Other than accidental poisoning, would you think that nicotine can be used in suicide attempts? Usually this kind of case is rare, but it is very possible! One fatal outcome was recorded with 3,950mg of nicotine found in gastric content. The victim was recorded to have drunk three vials of e-liquid totaling over 10,000mg of nicotine. Another case involved large amounts of nicotine sulphate (often found in pesticides). It was done via intravenous injection, but the amount of e-liquid that caused death is unknown.

Alcohol E-cigAnother risk that users could face is if they make the poor decision to try vaping alcohol as a way to get drunk. Honestly, that sounds like a bad idea for an easy buzz. I’m not saying you will get totally drunk, but some people like the taste of an alcoholic beverage. Being that alcohol is highly flammable, if it’s heated up too quickly, it could ignite causing a flame to burst out. If it doesn’t catch on fire, you still have another thing to worry about: Alcohol Poisoning!

When a person chooses to vape alcohol, it goes straight into the bloodstream bypassing the stomach and liver. No chance of getting processed naturally through the body’s digestive / filtering system. No filter, no cleaning process, no turning back once it’s started. Some of the life-threatening side effects as a result of inhaling the alcoholic vapors include going blind, liver failure, and death. When you compare that to consuming alcohol the old fashioned way, it makes more sense to leave it in the bottle or can.

Even though some will argue otherwise, there is evidence to suggest minors that use electronic cigs will allow it to be a gateway to other tobacco and increases the risk for alcohol usage. It serves as another way to access a hazardous result for some risk-prone smokers. We’re not saying it’s getting out of control; there are plenty of preventive efforts in the works targeting different levels to restrict the access and use of electronic cigarettes in hopes to discourage usage.

This isn’t something that is happening only in the United States; over in Great Britain, they have their own issues with vaping. In their latest survey, it’s estimated that one in 20 adults use electronic devices for smoking. They go on to say that current users are tobacco and e-cigs smokers (about 60%) or are former tobacco smokers (around 40%) that now use electronic cigarettes exclusively.

As for the youth, it’s a lot lower at around 2% using at least monthly and 0.5% weekly. Although usage among young people is significantly less, the amount of British youth who admitted to having tried electronic cigarettes is around 13%. Some of those underage participants also claimed to have never smoked before having tried an e-cig. Overall, the adult and youth data suggest that vaping is attracting people who never have smoked to those who are regular use.

To be honest, both sides of the pond have seen traditional tobacco usage on the decline in adults as well as youth ever since e-cigs were released onto the market. This may suggest a continuing action in the long-Term of cigarette smoking. Depending on whom you were to ask, vaping is considered less harmful that conventional tobacco while others say it is more harmful and unsure about the potential risks. Still, with curiosity appearing to play a big role in experimentation, you couldn’t tell that nicotine usage has been on the decline in Great Britain.

The most common age of smoking in the U.S. is those between 25 and 44 years old. In the United Kingdom (made up of England, Scotland, Wales, & Northern Ireland), it is 25-34 years of age (an estimated 6.7%). On the other hand, vaping is lower for those at a young age between 11 and 18 in UK (at 5.6%) in contrast to young people (7.1%) in the U.S.

Another interesting point is that ever since electronic cigarettes were introduced to the market, traditional tobacco smoking among adults and youth has been on a decline. Not to say this is the exact reason or to give credit to something that may not have anything to do with vaping, but this may be a contributing factor as to why we see more electronic cigarette usage than smoking conventional tobacco. Another possible reason maybe the fact that more states initiate smoke free laws for restaurants, bars, and private worksites, to name a few. It appears that the U.S. has gotten serious when it comes to second hand smoke.

We all know that each person reacts differently when it comes to kicking the nicotine habit. No matter if you are a veteran smoker or a short-timer, the struggle gets everyone in one way or the other. Depending on our current health status and situation in life, it may be even harder. Quitting smoking can be a vicious monster, lack of a better term. Again, we fall back to what our environment is around us:

  • Is there a support system in place?
  • Do you have a clergy or councilor to talk with you?
  • Is there a substitute that will pre-occupy the mind each time you have a craving?
  • Do you have any reminders sitting around (matches, ashtrays, lighters, smells, ect.)?

While on the subject of smoking reminders; another interesting study that measured nicotine residue on surfaces in houses of smokers and vapors reported only negligible levels from vaping. Thus theorizing that there is much less exposure to nicotine caused by electronic cigarette usage other than traditional smoking, resulting in not posing any concerns for exposure to those who don’t consume tobacco related products.

NicQuick Nicotine TestSmoking and vaping could lead you to bad health down the road. Depending on what you smoke and how often you do it can make the difference. Should you need to keep records of a person who needs to quit nicotine, we offer some different options for those needing assistance with quitting. Whether you want to use the NicQuick Nicotine Test that uses a dropper to put a small urine sample into the cassette or use the iScreen OFD Cotinine Test that has a swab to collect Saliva within your mouth, we guarantee you the most accurate and dependable results possible without using a lab.

For more information about this or any of other alcohol, drug, and nicotine drug testing kit we offer at our website, consider this your invitation speak with one of our friendly knowledgeable sales consultants about how we could help you by calling (888) 404-0020 Monday through Friday 8am to 4pm or send your questions via email to sales@rapiddetect.com anytime. You may also requests that we call you back at a specific time for your convenience.

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One Comment on “Smoking and Vaping”

  1. Hasse Karlgreen Says:

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Smoking is not good for human’s health as well as pet’s health. Every smoker tries to stop the smoking.

    Reply

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