Ever since I abandoned the 20+ year addiction to smoking (analog) cigarettes, I’ve noticed that even though the nicotine is still present in my E-liquid (I’m currently vaping anywhere between 12 and 18mg of nicotine) the drive and “need” to vape just isn’t as strong as the “need” to light up a cigarette. Now it feels more like snacking or biting fingernails than anything even remotely akin to a hardcore addiction. So how can this be? I know I’m still pumping regular amounts of fairly strong nicotine dosages into my body… but I don’t wake up and immediately make a beeline to “take the dog out” like I used to. So, being a relatively nerdy (but very cool) guy, the part of my brain that thirsts for scientific dilemmas thought a particular thought: “Is nicotine actually addictive?” I put in a call to my punctual and reliable friend, Google, and here’s what he told me:
Nicotine, by itself, is actually no more addictive than caffeine, and actually produces a similar effect on the body. It’s very obvious, when observing the world of nicotine delivery systems, that those who chew nicotine gum, use transdermal nicotine patches, and even those who vape E-cigarettes, still feel that there is something missing… at least for a while. I’ve known plenty of people who smoke while wearing the patch, or chewing nicotine gum or lozenges. I also know plenty of vapers who still imbibe in analogs, if at a reduced rate. So, through simple logical reasoning, we can inductively arrive at the conclusion that there is something other than nicotine that causes the “extremely addictive” qualities of tobacco smoking.
According to the National Institute of Drug Addiction, the presence of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) in tobacco smoke is actually of higher concern than nicotine. Essentially, these little guys boost your serotonin levels. They’re anti-depressants. And there, my dear friend, is the issue. We’ve all known for years that Big Tobacco purposefully pumps their products full of those 4,000 extra chemicals, and among those foreign, unnatural chemical additives to the tobacco, are MAOIs.
The rest of the “addiction” to nicotine, is more of a habitual habit… call it a nervous habit, or a compulsion, to bring a slender object to your lips (keep it clean, people) and draw a smoke or vapor-like gaseous substance from it in a way that facilitates a throat-hitting inhale. Let’s play around with this concept for a second. Remember that meditation stuff that’s been so popular on and off since the hippie days of the 60s? Well, it’s been studied over the years and found to cause relaxation due to (among other things) the slowing of the breathing process. This has been shown to slow down the heart, lower blood pressure, etc. What do we do when we smoke (or in our case, vape)? We slow down our breathing and tend to release some muscle tension, just like while meditating. Is it so difficult to imagine that the compulsive draw to the act of smoking involves a desire to relax, and calm down? And historically speaking, serious chain smoking and compulsive tobacco usage started to get worse as the world got faster and faster. Compare and contrast the fast-pace of contemporary America with the slow pace of 19th Century America… The faster we get, the more we prioritize relaxation, if only in five to ten minute increments.
Now for the important part… what does this have to do with us (vapers)? We are users of nicotine, and that garners the attention of the anti-tobacco activists. These anti-tobacco activists are actually becoming dangerous, and not just to us, but to the nation as a whole because of the precedent they are setting. They have long since left logic and reason behind and have converted absolutely and completely to fearmongering. I remember an ad a few years ago that claimed that 50% of life-long smokers (whatever that means… how is this quantified?) will eventually die. They quickly changed this commercial by adding a little dialog: …eventually die from smoking-related issues. I guess they heard too many smokers joking that they had a 50/50 chance at immortality. The point here is that they aren’t concerning themselves with correct form in argument/debate. They are instead concentrating on scaring the shit out of you with pseudo-facts:
-Lemonade stands at playgrounds offer flavors with the same name as cigarette “flavors,” and thus cigarettes are obviously being marketed to children.
-Urea (which is in cat piss) is in cigarettes, so therefore you are smoking cat piss. (Nothing mentioned about how Urea is in many foods as well… not just cat urine… like baked foods, for example)
-Arsenic, a deadly poison, is in cigarettes, so if you smoke you are poisoning yourself to death with arsenic. Arsenic also happens to be present in cigarettes in the same trace amounts as it is present in drinking water.
-Guests at a wedding suddenly drop dead on the spot because someone was smoking near them inferring, of course, that second-hand smoke exposure causes immediate death, and is therefore more dangerous than first-hand smoking.
-Second-hand smoke exposure causes the non-smoker’s arteries to have a lessened ability to dilate, therefore robbing the heart of blood and killing the non-smoker. They fail to mention that this physiological change only lasts for a very brief moment and is actually not any different than the effects of consuming a fat-heavy food. It takes prolonged, many, many times-repeated exposure to actually mean anything worthy of note.
The problem with the type of mentality spawned by purposefully misleading ads like these is that they directly lead to the same mentality that produces ideas like these:
-Smokers should be prohibited from adopting children.
-Smokers shouldn’t be allowed to have children at all, and those who disobey should be arrested and imprisoned, and have their children forcibly taken from them.
-Smoking near children is child abuse.
-Employees are banned from smoking, even when they are home and not working. This has actually already taken place… my home town of Melbourne, FL has a city government that has taken this official position.
-If you smoke near another person, they can press charges for assault and battery.
-Smoking within 12 feet of Earth is punishable by the death of you and your whole family in front of a live audience in an arena with rabid wolverines and honey badgers. (I added this one myself).
It helps considerably to have an education in logic and correct reasoning when tackling the subject of… well, any subject that flits across your TV or computer screen. Even if you agree with the sentiment, the consequences could be disastrous in the hands of an emotionally-charged, undereducated, intentionally mislead public. There are plenty of real, scientifically supportable claims that should be able to convince a reasonable person of average intelligence to avoid tobacco use and exposure as much as possible. However, when you start using fear to make your point, it begs the question, “Do you actually have any facts to support this wild claim?”