Saturday, March 5, 2016

But You're Still Addicted...

Vapers are often told, "Sure, you quit smoking, but you're still addicted." What does that even mean?

I consume around 12 mg to 18 mg of nicotine per day as a vaper. Vapers may consume anywhere from 0 mg to 200 mg per day. If I don't use my vapor device for a while, I sometimes feel a bit anxious and maybe feel a little crabby. Nicotine is not a carcinogen, but some studies say nicotine could raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Lining up for a fix of their socially acceptable.
 mood-altering, psychoactive drug.
But compare that to caffeine. The average daily caffeine consumption (from all sources) by US adults is, on average, 178 mg per day. (If you include children under 18, the mean only goes down to 165 mg per day, so kids are consuming a significant amount of caffeine, as well.) Some age groups consume 300 mg to 400 mg per day. Many health experts say that the safe level is around 300 mg per day. People who eliminate caffeine from their diet can experience "withdrawal" symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, nausea and restlessness, in many ways similar to the effects of nicotine "withdrawal." Some studies have also linked caffeine to cardiovascular disease.

Both caffeine and nicotine use are linked to improvements in mental alertness and concentration, but nicotine is curiously known to also help with relaxation. Both chemicals have been linked to possibly helping in some way with brain diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and MS. Nicotine has additionally been linked to aiding patients with ulcerative colitis.

Both caffeine and nicotine occur naturally. Caffeine in coffee, tea and cocoa; and nicotine in eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes, other vegetables and the tobacco plant. (Notice which chemical is present in nutritious, fresh, whole foods and which must be heavily processed for human consumption?) Both chemicals are stimulants. Both are a mood-altering, psychoactive drug. Both chemicals are natural insecticides. Both chemicals are toxins and can kill you if you consume too much.

One clear difference between nicotine and caffeine is that the effects of nicotine wear off far faster than the effects of caffeine, so nicotine consumers take in more or less the same in milligrams, but do it more frequently. Because of that, a caffeine consumer can drink a big cup of coffee and be good for a few hours, whereas a vaper may seem to have their device glued in their hand. That gives the false impression that nicotine consumers are "more dependent" than caffeine consumers. (Of course, many caffeine users are never far from their morning cup off coffee then switching to their afternoon energy drink or caffeinated soda, but no one really notices that.)

So, does it really make sense that vapers are treated as "addicts" and nicotine use is warned against, while caffeine consumers are treated as "normal" and caffeine use is practically worshipped?

Vapers aren't smoking. They are just nicotine consumers and, as I've just shown, that's not much different from being a caffeine consumer. Unless you never consume caffeine and also see caffeine consumers as "addicts," maybe consider checking your judgemental opinion of "vapers are still addicts" at the door?
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