Nicotine use and stress – Truth Initiative


Download report

Using nicotine will be sophisticated. In the short-term, vaping nicotine could really feel good by stimulating manufacturing of the “feel good” chemical within the mind referred to as dopamine which might create emotions of enjoyment and rest. Vaping nicotine additionally creates social alternatives to attach with different individuals and gives a distraction from demanding conditions. These are highly effective drivers for persevering with to vape.

However, due to the way in which nicotine works within the physique, these feel-good chemical compounds don’t final lengthy. Within just some hours, the impact of nicotine within the physique wears off and might result in a want to vape once more. This is nicotine withdrawal, and it contains cravings or urges to vape, feeling irritated or upset, feeling jumpy and stressed and having a tough time concentrating, modifications in sleep and consuming habits, and feeling anxious or depressed. Over time, it could actually take an increasing number of nicotine used an increasing number of continuously to create that very same good feeling and cope with these signs of withdrawal. That’s referred to as nicotine dependence. Eventually, what began out as a pleasurable expertise of vaping nicotine turns into vaping to do away with withdrawal signs.

This cycle could make it really feel like vaping nicotine relieves nervousness and melancholy. But the fact is that it solely addresses withdrawal signs and makes the cycle proceed.

Because of this advanced cycle, many tobacco customers falsely consider tobacco merchandise can relieve stress or nervousness. The concept that tobacco merchandise curb the signs of nicotine withdrawal is usually misinterpreted as a helpful impact on psychological well being, based on analysis on the results of quitting smoking on psychological well being.

Nicotine — which is present in e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and different tobacco merchandise — harms creating brains, and might make younger individuals extra prone to habit, and has implications for psychological well being. These connections had been highlighted within the Truth Initiative® report “Colliding Crises: Youth Mental Health and Nicotine Use.” We discover a kind of connections — nicotine and stress — in additional element right here and dispel among the myths about nicotine as a stress-reliever.

Vaping nicotine can enhance nervousness signs and stress ranges. However, many tobacco customers falsely consider tobacco merchandise can relieve stress or nervousness.


When a smoker puffs on a cigarette, nicotine is carried into the lungs through smoke particles the place it’s absorbed into blood and makes its method rapidly to the mind. Once within the mind, nicotine will increase the discharge of dopamine, a chemical that indicators pleasure, which retains them hooked on nicotine.


Nicotine’s launch of pleasure-inducing chemical compounds makes tobacco customers really feel good within the short-term and might seem to have a constructive impact on stress. However, it’s essential to notice that nicotine use doesn’t alleviate stress within the long-term and as a substitute can lure customers in a cycle of nicotine habit. Smokers expertise irritability, nervousness, and melancholy after they haven’t smoked for some time, emotions that are relieved by smoking. The cycle of signs adopted by reduction from smoking can create the notion that smoking has psychological advantages.


Nicotine use – whether or not by smoking or vaping — can enhance stress ranges. Despite the tobacco business’s promotion of its merchandise as stress-relieving, research amongst cigarette people who smoke have discovered that younger individuals who smoke have greater ranges of perceived stress.

  • Adolescent cigarette people who smoke had been considerably extra prone to report higher stress ranges than those that stop smoking, based on an article revealed in JAMA Pediatrics.


Despite research illustrating nicotine’s position in exacerbating stress ranges and displaying that tobacco customers are likely to have greater ranges of stress, younger individuals proceed to mistakenly flip to tobacco as a supply to alleviate stress. Research by Truth Initiative reveals that, throughout the pandemic, a big majority of younger e-cigarette customers began utilizing them to reduce emotions of stress, nervousness, or melancholy, and lots of proceed vaping to deal with these emotions.

  • 81% who had used e-cigarettes mentioned they began vaping to lower stress, nervousness, or melancholy, based on an August 2021 survey of 1,000 individuals between ages 15 and 24.
  • More than half of vapers use e-cigarettes to manage: 50.3% of frequent vapers — those that vaped 20 or extra days up to now month — reported that they should vape to deal with stress or nervousness, based on Truth Initiative steady monitoring knowledge from June 2021.
  • In a separate examine, when respondents had been requested about some great benefits of e-cigarette use, one of the vital continuously listed benefits was “relaxation and stress relief.”
  • More than twice as many frequent vapers (45%) agreed that it’s OK to vape for stress reduction in comparison with non-vapers (20%). Similar patterns exist for survey respondents with any previous 30-day use of e-cigarettes.

“I used nicotine as a stress reliever because I lost sight of working out and my health. Think long term, think about your body and your mind.” – MAYA, 18-24


Quitting smoking has highly effective advantages for psychological well being. According to a 2014 overview of 26 research, quitting smoking is linked with decrease ranges of stress, nervousness, and melancholy, in addition to improved constructive temper and high quality of life in contrast with those that proceed to smoke. And Truth Initiative surveys of younger individuals who stop vaping nicotine-containing e-cigarettes discovered that 90% of those that stop vaping mentioned they felt much less burdened, anxious, or depressed.


Many sources exist for these involved about their psychological well being, together with fast assist for individuals experiencing crises:

  • National Council for Mental Wellbeing seeks equitable entry to psychological well being and substance abuse remedy for greater than 10 million youngsters, adults, and households and works to extend well being suppliers’ skills to decrease tobacco- and cancer-related disparities in people with psychological well being and substance use challenges.
  • Crisis Text Line provides 24/7 assist from educated disaster counselors from a safe on-line platform. Text “HOME” to 741741 from wherever within the U.S. to attach with a volunteer disaster counselor
  • The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to educated disaster counselors 24/7. They additionally present a chat perform on their web site. Phone: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Mental Health America provides a web-based psychological well being screening. The exams will help decide whether or not persons are experiencing signs of a psychological well being situation.

The energy of breath to deal with nicotine use and stress

Nicotine withdrawal causes stress and nervousness. Breathing workout routines will help — respiration is a confirmed technique to scale back nervousness and will help curve cravings. Breathwrk and This is Quitting from reality have partnered to create quitting-specific respiration workout routines to assist younger individuals minimize nicotine cravings and attain their quitting targets.

The #1 Breathwrk app provides science-backed respiration and meditation workout routines to assist cut back stress, go to sleep sooner, and keep energized all through the day. This partnership with Breathwrk provides three customized respiration workout routines designed to assist younger individuals relieve nervousness, strengthen lungs, and ease cravings whereas making an attempt to stop vaping, together with:

  • No Worries: Designed to be your stress reduction breath.
  • Strong Lungs: Designed to strengthen respiration muscle groups and enhance lung capability.
  • Craving Curber: Designed to shift your state and a spotlight when experiencing undesirable cravings.

Users can obtain the Breathwrk app without cost and subscribe to the reality routine for normal reminders and new workout routines. As a part of the partnership, Breathwrk can be proud to supply the reality group and This is Quitting customers a free 6-month subscription to its premium product, Breathwrk Pro, the place younger individuals can entry all obtainable breaths. For extra info, see thetruth. com/mentalhealth2022.


Policy makers and regulators should take steps to scale back using e-cigarettes, together with eradicating all flavored tobacco merchandise, proscribing nicotine ranges, guaranteeing an intensive and clear pre-market overview course of, proscribing e-cigarette advertising and marketing to adults solely, proscribing entry to grownup people who smoke, prohibiting web gross sales of all tobacco merchandise, and setting taxes on e-cigarettes at a stage excessive sufficient to discourage youth use. See “Action Needed on E-cigarettes” for extra element about how Truth Initiative advocates to guard younger individuals from nicotine habit.

“Remember that stress can be dealt with in other ways! Try meditating or even writing down what the problem is and then figure out solutions.” – DALTON, 18-24


Around the nation, younger persons are taking motion by utilizing self-care as a type of activism and calling upon choice makers to declare vaping nicotine a psychological well being problem. Through our partnership with Breathwrk, every breath taken is a present to the FDA, White House, and all choice makers, that younger persons are preventing to guard their psychological well being. Anyone can be part of the motion by visiting:

Download report

Like it? Share with your friends!



Your email address will not be published.