Studies Show Teen Addiction Is Still Alive and Well
While it’s true that cigarette use has been on the major decline, studies are showing that it could bounce back because of the thing many people think is combatting it: e-cigarettes. When it comes to teen addiction, nicotine can be passed over because it’s not explicitly illegal for all age groups–but it’s incredibly harmful.
During adolescence, the prefrontal cortex–in charge of attention and executive functions–is still developing. There have been strong links between smoking in adolescence and future mental health issues.
How e-cigs can contribute to regular cigarette use
In a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found a link between higher concentration of nicotine in e-cigs and traditional cigarette use. The study was over the course of six months. They found that “the adolescents who started out using e-liquid with high nicotine levels were more than twice as likely to regularly smoke traditional cigarettes by the end of the study as vapers who used nicotine-free liquid.”
While e-cig use has fallen, a report in 2016 found that 2.2 million teens are still using them. Not only are those kids at risk for developing a traditional cigarette addiction, they’re also potentially at risk for the unknown effects of e-cigs.
Regular nicotine use can lead to more addictions
Nicotine is a gateway drug. On top of the unknown effects of e-cigs and the known effects of smoking tobacco, nicotine itself is extremely dangerous. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) warn against any nicotine use, e-cig or otherwise.
This is because studies have shown that nicotine opens the door to other drugs. Specifically, it makes a young person more susceptible to cocaine addiction. In a national survey, it was found that greater than 9 in 10 cocaine users smoked cigarettes before using cocaine.
In the study, researchers discovered that the response to cocaine after having nicotine exposure was more intense–making the chances of addiction greater. This means that even if we lower traditional cigarette use, e-cigs can still contribute to the teen addiction issue.
It’s critical that we educate our children on the damaging effects of nicotine–no matter it’s mode of consumption.
If you believe your son or daughter is struggling with teen addiction, it’s critical to reach out to a professional for further guidance. Early intervention is essential to overall success; hoping the issue will resolve itself with time often doesn’t lead to positive outcomes.
Kokua Recovery helps with teen addiction
Kokua Recovery is an adolescent recovery program for boy and girls between the ages of 13-17. Our program has a location in Colorado for boys and a location in Utah for girls.
At Kokua, we aim to heal the trauma that leads to teen addiction and help teens learn how to find sobriety in a safe and nurturing residential setting. We want to help lead teens and their families towards a healthy, happy future where they can thrive and grow.
For more information about treating teen addiction at Kokua Recovery, call us today at (877) 302-5022.