teen nicotine addiction

Teen Vaping and Nicotine Addiction in Young Adults? Handling a Hard time

As per the recent survey conducted by the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American lung association, it is recorded that 9.3% of teens and young adults have used Nicotine in the last 30 days, out of which 13.4% were high school students, and 4% from middle school. Nicotine is the most prominent substance found in tobacco. This colorless or yellowish liquid is greasy. Tobacco products are available in several forms, one of the most popular being e-cigarettes or vaping.
When teens smoke cigarettes or vape e-cigarettes in smaller doses, nicotine products stimulate the brain cells; however, they have adverse effects when taken in larger quantities. Teen nicotine addiction can block both skeletal muscles and autonomic nerves. It is primarily teenagers that are usually drawn to vaping habits or other drugs and get addicted to them.
Dopamine chemicals in nicotine products have become the major cause of teenage nicotine addiction. Dopamine chemical is responsible for stimulating pleasure, achieved within a fraction of seconds with the consumption of Nicotine. Thus, it is highly addictive, and teens develop nicotine dependence.
Also, the biphasic effect of nicotine products makes teens and young adults crave persistently at regular intervals. Teens are quite vulnerable as adolescence is the phase of experimentation, physically and cognitively.
It is quite common for youths to become prey to addiction easily as they can be easily influenced. Many factors constitute nicotine addiction in teens, the primary being inquisitiveness, followed by the environment, stress, peer pressure, and rebellious behavior.

Teen Vaping and Nicotine Addiction

“Vaping is better than Cigarette smoking or chewing tobacco” vape devices like Juul are being endorsed as the most trending smokeless tobacco concept in today’s world; considered sophisticated, e-cigarette products are readily available, which is alarming. Most e-cigarettes work as regular cigarettes but with fundamental differences. Cigarettes are filled with high nicotine levels, while E-cigarettes are filled with liquid or vape juice flavors. When inhaled deep, the nicotine and other harmful substances are quickly absorbed compared to other tobacco products.
With the growing popularity of vaping, especially among teenagers, many devices have been introduced, including e-cigarettes. E-cigarette devices are disposable and don’t look like regular cigarettes, so they are easy to hide from parents. They are also accessible to underage teens through siblings, older friends, and even parents.
Although an updated overview of e cigarette states vaping is less harmful, one must understand that Nicotine, when taken in high doses in any form, can have adverse health effects on the mental and physical state of a being. Also, at the same time, there are many cases reported where defective e-cigarette batteries have caused serious injuries.
Teens must attempt to understand that the vape liquids released through e-cigarettes are pure Nicotine, and it hijacks the ‘reward system’ of the adult brain easily and effortlessly, causing more profound impacts on the cognitive skills, especially related to memory and mood control. Developing brains suffer both physical and mental ailments from vaping habits. Teen nicotine addiction affects the adult brain development, but there are also severe effects on the other brain parts responsible for memory, mood, learning, and impulse control.
Adult brain development takes place until 25, and the constant consumption of Nicotine can also stop the communication between the natural neurotransmitters and the nerve cells. Young adults with vaping habits would also experience many brain risks and serious lung disease and other diseases related to the respiratory and digestive systems and mood-related disorders. The health of the lungs deteriorates, leading to cough, nausea, and even chest pain because of the volatile organic compounds linked with cigarettes. Breathing-related other risks such as troubled breathing is the most common problem witnessed in people who vape. The liquids loaded are storehouses of harmful chemicals and other metals such as nickel, tin, and lead; they can be highly detrimental to the lungs.

What Does Nicotine Addiction Look Like?

Getting addicted to Nicotine is easy, and it becomes quite challenging to break free from the vicious loop as they would be able to experience a state of euphoria easily. Every individual gets addicted to it way too differently. While teens who do not vape Juul or use Nicotine frequently may also not be able to quit it. On the other hand, there are individuals whose day starts and ends with a drag or a vape. After their first cigarette, they would have surrendered themselves to the substance for pleasure and happiness
Physically, you would see teens and young adults constantly craving tobacco, trying different means and other forms of drugs to fulfill their desires. It also changes the structure of young people’s brains and motivates them to consume it more and more due to the dopamine rush. Pleasure can be attained easily through these substances, making youngsters develop cravings for Nicotine. Other symptoms that can tell your teen is vaping include lack of motivation, quick mood swings, feeling anxious, trouble sleeping, and restlessness. The reward mechanism in young people’s brains depends entirely on e-cigarette aerosol usage. Thus, it is precarious as it can cause severe health risks.

Learn more about the Human Services Available for teens and young adults Smoking Cessation

A bad habit like smoking cigarettes can become extremely challenging for young adults to quit immediately. Although they would have had their primary treatment of addiction at the rehab centers, it becomes essential for them to make an effort on their own towards quitting consciously. To facilitate such, teens and young adults can utilize special support groups like nicotine cessation and drug addiction treatment programs to make this transition phase easy and comfortable. The homely environment at these teen mental health treatment centers helps them regain the lost confidence and hope in themselves. Teens and young people would be given total freedom and ample support to help them get back to their usual selves.

Do symptoms of nicotine withdrawal improve after quitting?

It is easier said than done! Yes, getting out of addiction can seem simpler, but it is actually hard for a teen to quit smoking. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms differ from one individual to the other. While you can help your teen stop vaping after two weeks of post-cessation programs, a few others might take months to come out of it. However, with constant efforts, support, and motivation, the withdrawal symptoms can come down drastically. As per the records, it is expected that when you quit smoking the withdrawal symptoms are at their peak during the first three days of quitting, and they can last until two weeks. Passing through these phases successfully would transform you to achieve the impossible.

Does quitting vaping improve mental health?

Vaping socially once in a while without getting addicted might be less harmful. However, teen nicotine addiction becomes common with constant inhalation of these harmful chemical linked. The adolescent developing brain loses its natural power of control, attention, and happiness due to the external feeding of dopamine. Also, by quitting vaping, the development of self-control and parent handling teen mood swings become easier. It also helps to enhance concentration skills and keeps anxiety and depression at bay. As per the statistics, 90% of youngsters experienced fewer stress levels, and 40% felt they were conscious and in control of thereafter, they gave up on the substances.

What Can I Do to Prevent My Child from Using E-cigarettes or Help Them Consuming Tobacco Products?

A parent has an important role in shaping the lives of their child, and preventing them from using e-cigs can happen by:
  • Having an enormous amount of patience becomes the first step.
  • Most children get into substance abuse if they see their parents indulging in smoking or vaping. It becomes crucial for the parents to get rid of that habit first during teenage drug abuse and vaping addiction.
  • Have honest communication with the teen about their challenges and peer pressure.
  • Introducing them to various other vaping quitting products like gums and lozenges or making them listen to motivational audiobooks can also have a positive impact.
  • Creating a trustworthy relationship and talking with teens about vaping and educating them about drugs can also be a wonderful idea to stop them from getting used to E-cigarettes.
  • Calling at helpline number in case of emergency.


If you’re vaping and need addiction treatment, contact us for a free, confidential consultation. We’re here as health care providers to help you figure out the best way for your teen to get treatment. We specialize in treating teens and offer individual therapy, family therapy,  Teen PHP, and outpatient or inpatient programs. You can trust us; we ensure your teen’s safety.


  1. How can teens kick nicotine addiction? By having open-ended conversations with parents and friends and seeking help through professionals at Key Healthcare when they find it difficult to cope on their own, nicotine addiction can be kicked out permanently.
  2. How long has teen nicotine addiction been an issue? Teen nicotine addiction has increased exponentially over a decade in the US due to stress and peer pressure.
  3. How those the development of nicotine addiction differ in teens and adults? Teenagers are extremely curious and might get addicted during the experimenting phase. On the other hand, adults understand the effect of dopamine, which can be the significant development of addiction.
  4. What do I do if my child is addicted to Nicotine? Make sure to have a friendly conversation to understand the level of addiction. If it is severe, ensure to seek professional help.
  5. What are the signs your teenager is vaping? The most common signs are restlessness, mood swings, anxiety, and the constant urge to find an environment away from everyone.
  6. Can you vape at 16? Legally, teens and young people above 18 are entitled to purchase e-cigarettes. However, one must understand that vaping habit can lead to addiction at any age.
  7. What does Nicotine do to a teenager’s brain? The natural dopamine release in the brain gets hijacked, leading to a lack of concentration and inability to manage self and exercise control over thoughts.