Here’s Why You Need to Quit Smoking & Vaping
Every day, we’re exposed to a host of chemicals, pesticides, fumes, and products that can poison our brain. Common toxins in the air we breathe, the foods we eat, and the products we rub on our skin are absorbed into our bodies via our lungs, digestive system, and pores and can eventually impact the brain. The more exposure you have to these everyday toxins, the more you put your brain at risk and increase your chances of brain/mental health issues.
Up in Smoke
Among the many toxins to be wary of, one of the most prevalent, and harmful to your health, is smoking or breathing in secondhand smoke. In the U.S., over 47 million people are smokers. That’s a distressing statistic considering that smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in our nation.
Cigarettes are among the most toxic substances known to humans. According to the American Lung Association, as cigarettes burn, they create about 7,000 chemicals, many of which are poisonous.
Here are just 10 of the many toxins that can be found in cigarettes:
If you’ve become dependent on cigarettes to manage mood or stress, your health (as well as your hard-earned cash) is literally going up in smoke.
Smoking and Mental Health
It is common knowledge that the tobacco industry has promoted smoking despite its serious negative health effects. What you may not know is that it has also promoted the use of its products within psychiatric settings. This includes funding research that suggests people with schizophrenia can benefit from self-medicating with cigarettes.
Today, as many as 80 percent of people with schizophrenia smoke. They aren’t alone. People with mental health or substance abuse issues are more likely to smoke cigarettes than the general population. In fact, they smoke nearly 40 percent of all cigarettes, according to the CDC.
The Latest Epidemic
Although smoking rates have been going down for years, rates of vaping e-cigarettes are on the rise. A 2018 report involving over 40,000 teens nationwide showed that more than 20 percent of twelfth graders said they had vaped nicotine in the previous month. That’s twice the number who had reported vaping in 2017.
Additionally, 11 percent of eighth graders admitted to having vaped nicotine in the last year. The rate of young people vaping is rising so rapidly that in 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General called e-cigarette vaping among youth an epidemic.
Inhaling Toxic Junk
Cigarettes (tobacco and marijuana), as well as vaping nicotine and caffeine delivery systems, cause you to inhale a host of fine and ultrafine toxic junk that can also penetrate your brain. Does size matter? Yes! The smaller the particle you inhale, the greater its ability to cause inflammatory reactions and damage your brain.
The effects of vaping caffeine on the brain were tested on an episode of The Dr. Oz Show. Dr. Daniel Amen scanned Dr. Oz before and after he vaped. The results weren’t pretty.
After vaping, Dr. Oz’ scans showed increased activity in the occipital lobes (the area that makes you notice someone who’s attractive) and decreased activity in the frontal lobes (the area that puts on the brakes to prevent bad behavior). This seems like a prescription for divorce!
Strategies to Quit Smoking/Vaping
One well-known aid to help you stop smoking is the nicotine patch. However, depending on the individual, results may vary. Some are prescribed bupropion to help reduce cravings, but as with all medications, it comes with a list of side effects.
A more holistic option to help you quit smoking/vaping is hypnosis. Even though smoking is highly addictive, hypnosis can help you break the habit. Even people who have tried quitting several times without success have given up cigarettes through hypnosis.
You can learn more about how to protect your brain from toxins in Dr. Amen’s newest book, The End of Mental Illness. In it, Dr. Amen challenges an outdated psychiatric paradigm and helps readers improve the health of their own brain, minimizing or reversing conditions that may be preventing them from living a full and emotionally healthy life.