Vape Addictions: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment? | #parents | #teensvaping

Nicotine and vaping are significant concerns among health professionals, policymakers, and parents. As of now, the long term effects of e-cigarettes are not yet known, but the short and long term effects of nicotine addiction are well documented.

The effects of e-cigarettes are of particular concern to parents because of the teen vaping epidemic. Beating this habit can be difficult because of the effects of dependency on the brain. But, with the right strategy, vape dependency can be recognized. 

Table of Contents

  • Recognizing the Signs Vape Addiction
  • What Causes Addiction to Vaping?
  • How to Find Treatment and Quit Successfully
  • Factors That Increase Risk for Habit Forming
  • Final Advice for Those Wanting to Quit

Signs of Nicotine Addiction

Addiction caused by e-cigarettes has several symptoms. The more a person vapes, the more likely he or she is to experience symptoms. Irritability, depression, and anxiety are signs of a problem. There are also several physical signs of addiction. 

Dry Mouth

Propylene glycol, a common ingredient found in e-juice, can cause dry mouth. Chronic dry mouth can lead to bad breath, sores, and tooth decay. 


Researchers monitored 33 smokers over 21 days. Dizziness was one of the symptoms the participants felt. E-juice has high levels of nicotine, so someone who quits vaping is likely to experience dizziness. 


For some, vaping is a gateway to smoking. When people try quitting both habits, they are likely to experience heavy coughing. The reason they cough is that cigarette use damages the cilia in the lungs. After kicking these habits, but, the cilia will grow back. 

Skin Problems

Vaporizers can harm dermatological health. One study found that vapers can experience contact dermatitis, thermal injuries, and oral muscular lesions. 


While it is rare, nicotine occasionally causes itching, hives, rashes, and swelling. A vaper who experiences these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

Dry Eyes

A small study published in the journal Optometry and Vision Science explored the effects of vaping on ocular health. Researchers found moderate and severe cases of dry eye and poor-quality tear film among 21 vapers compared to non-vapers. 


As stated earlier, e-juice contains propylene glycol. This chemical is known to dehydrate the skin inside the nostrils. The skin in the nose is vulnerable, and nosebleeds could be the result of excessive vaping. 

Nicotine Overdose

Nicotine poisoning occurs when too much nicotine is in the body. The symptoms include nausea, headache, and pale skin. Children and pets are also at risk for nicotine poisoning because they might chew on the juice bottles.The bottles often attract children because they are colorful and often smell sweet.


Vapers can avoid nicotine poisoning by not getting nicotine on their skin or in their mouths. Keep juice bottles away from children and pets to avoid accidents. A teaspoon of e-liquid can poison a child. 

Addiction and Nicotine: Why Are They So Difficult to Overcome?

E-cigarettes have caught on over the last decade among ex-cigarette smokers, teens, and young adults. But, concerns about safety are still here even despite the scientific conclusions that it’s safer than smoking.


Vape liquids like tobacco contain nicotine, giving scientists, advocacy groups, and consumers reason for concern. Nicotine works by interacting with the brain’s reward system. The reward system interacts with acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a natural neurotransmitter used to activate muscles.


When someone vapes or smoke, the receptors for acetylcholine interact with nicotine instead. As a result, dopamine is released into the system. Dopamine causes feelings of pleasure and euphoria. But, it leaves the system faster than other addictive compounds. The speed with which it exits the system causes intense cravings for dopamine.

Young People and Brain Development

Teenagers and young adults are susceptible to addiction because their brains still need to develop. The reason they are so vulnerable is that the adolescent brain is highly sensitive to dopamine. More so than that of an adult.


Researchers have found that nicotine can cause mental health problems later in life. Adolescents using nicotine are at increased risk for attention deficit disorder. Studies also showed that nicotine exposure significantly reduces cognitive function. 

The Neurobiology of Addiction

According to neurobiologists, there are three stages of addiction. 

  • First, there is the intoxication stage, followed by abstinence and negative emotions, which leads to anxiety. These feelings make the addict highly impulsive.
  • This impulsiveness leads to the addict relapsing without regard for themselves or others. 


Nicotine addicts, like drug addicts, are trapped in a cycle that is hard to break.

How to Get Treatment

There are currently no approved methods for treating vape addiction. Vapers who want to quit should try methods proven to help people give up other nicotine delivery systems. But, there is no evidence that traditional smoking cessation methods work. 

Solve the Problem on Your Own

The “cold turkey” method is a common way of quitting. Quitting cold turkey has many advantages. The most significant benefit is that the body will get over the symptoms faster than cutting down gradually. Also, the health benefits of quitting appear sooner than later. 


There are disadvantages to this method, as well. Quitting cold turkey is difficult because of the intensity of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Remember that withdrawal may not be comfortable, but it is not life-threatening.


Additionally, quitting vaping cold turkey requires a lot of willpower. This is especially for those who have vaped or smoked for an extended period.


Several strategies can be employed when quitting cold turkey. Vapers can increase their chances of success by avoiding situations that trigger cravings. These triggers can be emotional, situational, or social.


They can also do things to keep themselves distracted from cravings. Do something like read a book, exercise, or talk to a friend or family member.  

Seek Medical Advice from a Doctor or Health Professional

Vapers who do not want to quit vaping cold turkey should speak to a physician. A doctor with experience in helping people overcoming addiction can help find a quitting strategy.


Vapers can also take part in behavioral therapy with a psychologist. Behavioral therapy employs a wide range of techniques to help people battling addiction. 

Signs of Increased Risk

Several factors increase a person’s risk of developing any kind of addiction. Poor mental health caused by chronic depression, bouts of sadness, and mood swings are signs of someone who is at high risk.


Some might see e-cigarette use as a way of coping with these stressors. Anyone experiencing these issues should quit smoking or vaping.


Parents concerned that their children might start vaping should know what they are doing when not at home. Know your child’s friends and their parents, and understand what kind of people they are.


Keep children away from friends who exert a bad influence or display high-risk behaviors. Parents should also not be afraid to look through a child’s room for e-cigarette devices. 

You Can Fight Nicotine Addiction Successfully 

The long term health effects of e-cigarettes are not yet apparent. But vapers who believe their health is at risk should quit.


Anyone experiencing the problems mentioned here should seriously consider quitting. People with friends exhibiting these symptoms should ask them to consider quitting.


The effects of addiction are unpleasant, and some could lead to adverse health consequences. Quitting is the only way to be sure of avoiding illness in the future. The withdrawal is not pleasant, but people who can stay focused can reach their goals of being vape free.

About the author: Jeffrey Buckley is an editor on VapingDaily and an active member of the vaping community.
After 25 years of smoking, he got a medical degree with a specialization in addiction counseling and treatment, which helps him support people all over the world. Almost 10 years of researching and writing in-depth vape reviews made him an expert in vaping.

Reach him on Twitter

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