Nicotine and vaping
Nicotine is addictive, but it’s the toxins produced by burning tobacco that cause smoking related illnesses. Vaping can vary from no nicotine to high nicotine, and is much less harmful than smoking.
Why is nicotine in vaping?
Many people miss the nicotine when they quit smoking, and can experience a range of nicotine withdrawal symptoms which may make quitting difficult.
Vaping can replace this nicotine but without many, or less of, the toxins found in cigarette smoke.
So, is nicotine harmful?
For people who smoke:
- nicotine itself is low harm
- nicotine has little or no long-term health effects
- nicotine is addictive and if your vape contains nicotine you will still be addicted to this
- it’s what comes with the nicotine that could be harmful.
Is addiction bad?
Addictions can be bad if they negatively impact on your life. These impacts could be health, financial or cultural.
Nicotine itself does not have a significant impact on the health of people who smoke. However, the addiction to nicotine can make you feel irritable, restless, unable to concentrate, and most people experience cravings when they go without it. Having it takes away these symptoms, and this can keep you stuck in a cycle of addiction.
What does nicotine do?
Nicotine is addictive because it affects part of the brain that is involved in ‘rewarding behaviour’.
Nicotine has some side effects, like nausea and vomiting. Smokers have become used to these types of effects. However, non-smokers who get exposed to nicotine could experience this. People who don’t smoke should not use nicotine.
Under 18s and pregnant women
High doses of nicotine can be dangerous, especially for children.
Nicotine can affect brain development in babies, and ideally pregnant women should be smokefree and nicotine free. However, nicotine products are used to support pregnant women to quit smoking. Your doctor or local stop smoking services can give you more information.
Nicotine can also have some negative effects on brain development in adolescents.
To avoid accidental poisoning, e-liquids should be stored out of the reach of children and animals.
Different strengths of nicotine
Vape e-liquid comes in different strengths of nicotine. The strength of what you start with is often dependent on how much you smoke and how early in the day you start smoking. In general, the more addicted to nicotine you are, the higher the dose you should start on.
Vapers have the choice to reduce their frequency of vaping over time, and reduce the strength of nicotine in their e-liquid. Vapers should only lower nicotine levels when they feel they won’t go back to smoking, and don’t have to puff more to compensate.