Vaping and Anxiety: Mental Health Effects

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It’s no secret, that there is a lot of discussion around vaping and the implications it has on mental health. Since the huge incline in popularity, a lot of people are becoming more aware of the device and its main purpose.

A stigma has been born around the devices; due to their connection to cigarettes through some juices using nicotine. Thus, it seems to have shrouded some of the more positive reasons why vaping is good. When it comes down to it, although vaporizers have been used as a tool for smokers attempting to quit; this was not its main purpose.

However, there are many aspects of vaping that are great for your mental health and others, not so much, we can delve more into that in a bit.

Table of Contents

  1. Can Vaping Relieve Anxiety and Stress?
  2. Can Vaping Help With Depression?
  3. Nicotine and ADHD
  4. Can Vaping Cause Eating Disorders?
  5. Does Vaping Without Nicotine Harm You?
  6. FAQ about Vaping and Anxiety
  7. Final Thoughts

Table of Contents

  1. Can Vaping Relieve Anxiety and Stress?
  2. Can Vaping Help With Depression?
  3. Nicotine and ADHD
  4. Can Vaping Cause Eating Disorders?
  5. Does Vaping Without Nicotine Harm You?
  6. FAQ about Vaping and Anxiety
  7. Final Thoughts

Is Vaping Good for Your Mental Health?

Let’s talk about the positives behind vaping and what it means to your anxiety and mental health in general. There are many factors about vaping that can be considered when it comes to your mental health, a lot of which will be extremely helpful and the majority of the time help you out. So let’s take a look at these factors.

Does Vaping Relieve Anxiety and Stress?

It’s quite common to hear a smoker or vaper say “It’s relaxing” or “It calms me down”; which is true. When you develop an addiction to something, and your body starts to rely on it after leaving your body craving it for so long, and you eventually give your body the thing it desires you will get a sense of relaxation and serenity.

It works the same way as a hug; if you’re feeling upset or down, sometimes a hug will make you feel all the better, this is because our bodies have associated a simple hug with feelings of love, care, and affection. Therefore, this is exactly what happens with vaping; your body associates the process with being relaxed or winding down.

How Does Vaping Affect You Mentally?

Due to the relaxing nature of the device, as mentioned above, vaping has been known to help people fight anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Sometimes, for a person with these conditions, knowing that you have that tool to calm yourself down or take your mind of things can help with living alongside the condition. One of the best medical examples of this would be Anti-Depression Tablets; for someone suffering from depression, knowing they have a tablet that can instantly make them feel a lot better plays a huge mental part in their condition.

Mental conditions have a strong connection to the placebo effect when it comes down to it, the majority of the time a mental disorder is made worse simply by a person’s lack of understanding, fear of the condition or simply feeling alone. If you truly believe there is a method that can help you feel better, then you can easily overcome the majority of mental health issues you may be facing.

If somebody vapes to stop smoking, then that could play a part in them having fewer mental issues. Studies show that quitting smoking is very good for overall mental state.

Let’s talk about the positives behind vaping and what it means to your anxiety and mental health in general. There are many factors about vaping that can be considered when it comes to your mental health, a lot of which will be extremely helpful and the majority of the time help you out. So let’s take a look at these factors.

Does Vaping Relieve Anxiety and Stress?

It’s quite common to hear a smoker or vaper say “It’s relaxing” or “It calms me down”; which is true. When you develop an addiction to something, and your body starts to rely on it after leaving your body craving it for so long, and you eventually give your body the thing it desires you will get a sense of relaxation and serenity.

It works the same way as a hug; if you’re feeling upset or down, sometimes a hug will make you feel all the better, this is because our bodies have associated a simple hug with feelings of love, care, and affection. Therefore, this is exactly what happens with vaping; your body associates the process with being relaxed or winding down.

How Does Vaping Affect You Mentally?

Due to the relaxing nature of the device, as mentioned above, vaping has been known to help people fight anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Sometimes, for a person with these conditions, knowing that you have that tool to calm yourself down or take your mind of things can help with living alongside the condition. One of the best medical examples of this would be Anti-Depression Tablets; for someone suffering from depression, knowing they have a tablet that can instantly make them feel a lot better plays a huge mental part in their condition.

Mental conditions have a strong connection to the placebo effect when it comes down to it, the majority of the time a mental disorder is made worse simply by a person’s lack of understanding, fear of the condition or simply feeling alone. If you truly believe there is a method that can help you feel better, then you can easily overcome the majority of mental health issues you may be facing.

If somebody vapes to stop smoking, then that could play a part in them having fewer mental issues. Studies show that quitting smoking is very good for overall mental state.

Vaping and Depression

Multiple studies have documented the link between smoking and depression over the years. However, fewer studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of vaping. Depression, like anxiety and panic attacks, is an internalizing psychiatric illness.

As a result, the research findings revealed in the section on vaping and anxiety should also apply here. However, to be detailed, let’s look at the findings of other studies.

Various studies examining the relationship between depression and e-cigarette use have frequently yielded inconclusive results. While some studies have found positive associations between vaping and depression, others have not.

This could be due to some researchers’ failure to distinguish between different tobacco products when examining risk factors. They categorize smoking and vaping together instead.

It is important to note that a correlation does not prove that one thing caused another. So the fact that vaping and depression seem to go together doesn’t mean that vaping causes depression. A National Library of Medicine study in Hawaii discovered that associations between depression and vaping were stronger in people who showed signs of higher impulsivity.

Multiple studies have documented the link between smoking and depression over the years. However, fewer studies have been conducted to investigate the effects of vaping. Depression, like anxiety and panic attacks, is an internalizing psychiatric illness.

As a result, the research findings revealed in the section on vaping and anxiety should also apply here. However, to be detailed, let’s look at the findings of other studies.

Various studies examining the relationship between depression and e-cigarette use have frequently yielded inconclusive results. While some studies have found positive associations between vaping and depression, others have not.

This could be due to some researchers’ failure to distinguish between different tobacco products when examining risk factors. They categorize smoking and vaping together instead.

It is important to note that a correlation does not prove that one thing caused another. So the fact that vaping and depression seem to go together doesn’t mean that vaping causes depression. A National Library of Medicine study in Hawaii discovered that associations between depression and vaping were stronger in people who showed signs of higher impulsivity.

Nicotine and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)

Nicotine use is common among people with ADHD, with 40% of adults with ADHD smoking compared to 20% of the general population. This is because nicotine is a stimulant with properties similar to Ritalin, which is used to treat ADHD. As a result, nicotine is appealing for self-medication.

People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may benefit from nicotine’s effects. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), nicotine stimulates the brain in the same way that other prescribed stimulants do.

It can help a person with ADHD focus on a task and increase concentration. The only disadvantage is that people with ADHD tend to have more intense withdrawal symptoms, and long-term use has diminishing effects.

Nicotine use is common among people with ADHD, with 40% of adults with ADHD smoking compared to 20% of the general population. This is because nicotine is a stimulant with properties similar to Ritalin, which is used to treat ADHD. As a result, nicotine is appealing for self-medication.

People with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder may benefit from nicotine’s effects. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), nicotine stimulates the brain in the same way that other prescribed stimulants do.

It can help a person with ADHD focus on a task and increase concentration. The only disadvantage is that people with ADHD tend to have more intense withdrawal symptoms, and long-term use has diminishing effects.

Vaping and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are psychological conditions marked by abnormal or disrupted eating habits. Considering that vaping and eating disorders are more prevalent among college-aged young adults, several studies have been conducted to determine if they are related.

According to one study, vaping was linked to “self-reported lifetime eating disorder diagnosis and elevated eating disorder risk” in a large sample of college students. However, the study’s subjectivity is somewhat concerning, given that the evaluation was based on the personal opinions of unprofessional college students.

Another study investigated the relationship between eating disorder symptoms and vaporizing reasons. The findings revealed that the comorbidity (the presence of ED symptoms and vaping simultaneously) in a non-clinical sample is negligible. However, more research is required, as the sample size in this study was small.

Eating disorders are psychological conditions marked by abnormal or disrupted eating habits. Considering that vaping and eating disorders are more prevalent among college-aged young adults, several studies have been conducted to determine if they are related.

According to one study, vaping was linked to “self-reported lifetime eating disorder diagnosis and elevated eating disorder risk” in a large sample of college students. However, the study’s subjectivity is somewhat concerning, given that the evaluation was based on the personal opinions of unprofessional college students.

Another study investigated the relationship between eating disorder symptoms and vaporizing reasons. The findings revealed that the comorbidity (the presence of ED symptoms and vaping simultaneously) in a non-clinical sample is negligible. However, more research is required, as the sample size in this study was small.

Vaping without Nicotine

When you remove the main addictive chemical from juices, the users will not have that drive and urge to take a vape, and it’s the same with smoking. The only thing leftover is the desire to vape or smoke because you want to. It’s quite common for people to enjoy the social aspects of vaping, depending on who you are as a person and what you enjoy, this can also be seen as quite addictive.

There have been multiple “expeditions” or “gatherings” where communities of vapors get together and share hardware, juices, and experiences with the devices. The majority of juices used at these expeditions are nicotine-free. It’s beginning to be more and more popular for juice manufacturers only to sell 0mg (nicotine-free) juices.

However, considering everything mentioned above, if you’re a person who vapes for nicotine and believes you are addicted. Getting to the stage where you can vape 0mg juices will gradually help you shake the addiction, ultimately being able to put down the device and any associated mental health issues alongside it; I’ve heard plenty of stories of this and seen it in many friends and relatives. You just have to understand that nicotine is an addictive chemical, and that’s what you’re craving when you get the urge to vape.

When you remove the main addictive chemical from juices, the users will not have that drive and urge to take a vape, and it’s the same with smoking. The only thing leftover is the desire to vape or smoke because you want to. It’s quite common for people to enjoy the social aspects of vaping, depending on who you are as a person and what you enjoy, this can also be seen as quite addictive.

There have been multiple “expeditions” or “gatherings” where communities of vapors get together and share hardware, juices, and experiences with the devices. The majority of juices used at these expeditions are nicotine-free. It’s beginning to be more and more popular for juice manufacturers only to sell 0mg (nicotine-free) juices.

However, considering everything mentioned above, if you’re a person who vapes for nicotine and believes you are addicted. Getting to the stage where you can vape 0mg juices will gradually help you shake the addiction, ultimately being able to put down the device and any associated mental health issues alongside it; I’ve heard plenty of stories of this and seen it in many friends and relatives. You just have to understand that nicotine is an addictive chemical, and that’s what you’re craving when you get the urge to vape.

Short- & Long-Term Effects of Vaping on Mental Health

There used to be a lot of discussion about how smoking could be associated with more risks to develop anxiety and mental illness and if you’re at risk doing it. With the rise in popularity of vapes, a lot of people are asking the same question. Here are some of the key factors on this topic and the things you should know.

To be perfectly honest, there is not much research or evidence that can strongly support if vaping is likely or unlikely to aid in developing a mental illness. In regards to short-term effects, there has been a noticeable difference between the effects of vaping and smoking when it comes to creating mental illness, with vapes being a lot less likely.

There used to be a lot of discussion about how smoking could be associated with more risks to develop anxiety and mental illness and if you’re at risk doing it. With the rise in popularity of vapes, a lot of people are asking the same question. Here are some of the key factors on this topic and the things you should know.

To be perfectly honest, there is not much research or evidence that can strongly support if vaping is likely or unlikely to aid in developing a mental illness. In regards to short-term effects, there has been a noticeable difference between the effects of vaping and smoking when it comes to creating mental illness, with vapes being a lot less likely.

Frequently Asked Questions about Vaping and Anxiety

How Does Vaping Help You With Anxiety and Depression?

Vaping nicotine can temporarily relieve anxiety and depression, but this relief does not last. The only way to treat these disorders is to seek professional help.

Can Nicotine Cause Anxiety?

Nicotine is not known to cause anxiety.

Can Vaping Cause Schizophrenia?

It does not likely cause schizophrenia, but data suggests people with this disorder are more likely to vape. One survey showed that 37 percent of a sample size of 60 patients had tried e-cigarettes. Those who reported using regular cigarettes said it helped reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which suggests some people use nicotine as a coping mechanism for the effects of mental illness.

Can Vaping Cause Erratic Behavior?

It does not cause erratic behavior, but the THC present in vape oils can. Examples of such behavior are everything from uncontrollable laughter and euphoria to irritability.

Does Vaping Cause Anger Issues?

Irritability, defensiveness, and mood swings are some of the behaviors associated with THC consumption. Nicotine liquids are not known to cause these behaviors.

Does Nicotine Make Panic Attacks Worse?

Nicotine is not known to cause panic attacks, but people often smoke to relieve severe feelings of anxiety.

How Does Vaping Help You With Anxiety and Depression?

Vaping nicotine can temporarily relieve anxiety and depression, but this relief does not last. The only way to treat these disorders is to seek professional help.

Can Nicotine Cause Anxiety?

Nicotine is not known to cause anxiety.

Can Vaping Cause Schizophrenia?

It does not likely cause schizophrenia, but data suggests people with this disorder are more likely to vape. One survey showed that 37 percent of a sample size of 60 patients had tried e-cigarettes. Those who reported using regular cigarettes said it helped reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, which suggests some people use nicotine as a coping mechanism for the effects of mental illness.

Can Vaping Cause Erratic Behavior?

It does not cause erratic behavior, but the THC present in vape oils can. Examples of such behavior are everything from uncontrollable laughter and euphoria to irritability.

Does Vaping Cause Anger Issues?

Irritability, defensiveness, and mood swings are some of the behaviors associated with THC consumption. Nicotine liquids are not known to cause these behaviors.

Does Nicotine Make Panic Attacks Worse?

Nicotine is not known to cause panic attacks, but people often smoke to relieve severe feelings of anxiety.

Conclusion about Vaping and Anxiety

It’s hard to understand most mental illnesses, and identifying some of the things that will affect them is even more challenging. Truth be told, if you have a mental condition, the smallest things can set you off and cause issues; the most important thing to you and your condition’s progress is to understand the possibilities and how vaping will affect you fully.

However, the positive effects that vaping have on mental conditions easily outweigh the negatives. Plenty of stories and past experiences display how it has helped so many people fight their Conditions and make it through such a terrible time.

Granted, when you vape, there is a possibility to develop a mental condition, but there’s going to be a risk with anything you do. As mentioned multiple times in this article, the key is to understand the process, understand how to do it correctly, and know your boundaries.

Mental health is such a huge subject and is quite a hard topic to cover because people react to things differently in their own minds. Everyone finds different things upsetting, and people suffering from Mental conditions will have their own prompts. I keep on saying how it’s important to understand the process, and this is to identify any possible prompts you would get, just because others can’t do it because of their condition doesn’t mean you can’t, we all react in different ways.

Are anxiety, depression, and panic attacks connected to vaping? Yes, they are.

Is vaping a cause for mental health conditions? I believe not.

It’s hard to understand most mental illnesses, and identifying some of the things that will affect them is even more challenging. Truth be told, if you have a mental condition, the smallest things can set you off and cause issues; the most important thing to you and your condition’s progress is to understand the possibilities and how vaping will affect you fully.

However, the positive effects that vaping have on mental conditions easily outweigh the negatives. Plenty of stories and past experiences display how it has helped so many people fight their Conditions and make it through such a terrible time.

Granted, when you vape, there is a possibility to develop a mental condition, but there’s going to be a risk with anything you do. As mentioned multiple times in this article, the key is to understand the process, understand how to do it correctly, and know your boundaries.

Mental health is such a huge subject and is quite a hard topic to cover because people react to things differently in their own minds. Everyone finds different things upsetting, and people suffering from Mental conditions will have their own prompts. I keep on saying how it’s important to understand the process, and this is to identify any possible prompts you would get, just because others can’t do it because of their condition doesn’t mean you can’t, we all react in different ways.

Are anxiety, depression, and panic attacks connected to vaping? Yes, they are.

Is vaping a cause for mental health conditions? I believe not.

Published: August 2, 2017 Updated: October 24, 2022


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18 comments on “Vaping and Anxiety: Mental Health Effects

  • Chenique Dreyer

    May 30, 2022 at 11:39 am

    it really helps with my depression and it calms me down…

  • Ryan

    December 20, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    Glad I’m not the only one who’s experienced an increase in anxiety/depression as a result of vaping. I’ve had anxiety issues since I was a kid (genetics and trauma) but it would only get really bad before events/interviews/stressful situations…now after about 3 years of vaping I’m basically Agoraphobic, can barely leave my house without getting a panic attack, when only a few years ago I was crowd surfing at concerts and going to loud bars all the time. I 100% believe it was vaping that caused this. If you’re reading this please quit now before it fries your brain, like it did to me.

  • Accurate 3 Muay Thai

    November 8, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Suffered from panic attacks for the last 3 years although I’ve had anxiety my whole life I believe. It’s very difficult to stop a drug is addicting is nicotine although not impossible by any means. I have quit cigarettes and vaping multiple times throughout my life and every time I felt better. I believe that nicotine is an evil drug bcuz it’s a poison. Regardless there is hope and I do believe the nicotine is bad for the body. I currently still vape and I’m trying to quit soon it is not easy but it is possible.

  • Natasha Mouse

    October 9, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I have a theory about why vaping causes a slight panic. It happens to me, my sister and my husband who shortly after vaping for a few months developed a panic disorder and is now on medication for it. I think it’s something to do with the coating it causes in your lungs and throat along with the heart rate as you mentioned. I feel like it slightly covers your lungs and causes a slightly lower amount of oxygen to enter your blood stream. Obviously upon detecting this, your brain starts to sense that you’re not safe. As in, if you were near fire where smoke was in the air, you’d start worrying and leave the area. I think it could be the same but obviously a lot milder.

    • Nicolas Adolph

      June 18, 2020 at 12:58 am

      Hi Natasha, I hope you are still available though here. Could you tell me more details about your and your families feelings? I think I could be experiencing the same as you did. I just vape during the weekends, but then during the howl week I have anxiety until I start vaping again on weekends. Was it similar for you?

  • Bruce Burleson

    September 5, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Vaping is much, much cheaper than smoking. I save upwards of 99% since I started making my own vape juice–easy to do with PG and VG.

  • Diana Giova

    August 19, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Smoking cigarettes puts heavy metals into our bodies. When we detox those heavy metals it is this process that causes anxiety. Detoxing is rougher than pumping the body full of metals. So don’t blame vaping on anxiety. It would be there anyhow upon quitting smoking.

  • Agnes Johnston

    July 25, 2018 at 7:24 am

    Been vaping for 2yrs now and I can honestly say my panic attacks depression and anxiety has got worse I only smoke 0.6mg I honestly think their more addictive than a real cig tried to come of it but it so hard am highly addicted to them 😡😡😡

  • Mike Parkhill

    July 19, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    I too have suffered from a sort of panic attack recently. I have been vaping for about 5 years now gradually reducing nicotine strength to the 0.3mg having previously been a pack a day smoker. I find I am vaping for hours on end as there is no automatic cut off point like there is with cigarrettes ie the cigarrette burns to the end and you stub it out. I am probably consuming more nicotine than through smoking. I believe that vapour is a drying agent so maybe drys lungs out a bit. Could this have contributed to my serious heartburn, dizziness which caused me to panic a bit.
    I would add that I recently started taking anti depressants for which side effects stated can be similar.
    My point is do these side effects only effect vapers/smokers or are non vapers/smokers people also effected

  • John

    May 11, 2018 at 12:46 am

    Great article! thanks for taking the time to write this. ive been looking everywhere for something like this

    • David Robinson

      May 29, 2018 at 2:14 pm

      I’m not sure why you you been looking for this kind of information, but I have because ever since I stopped smoking and started Vaping I’ve got worse and have mental health issues now and I never did before Vaping, I suffer really bad with severe anxiety and panic attack’s it’s so bad I can’t even go out of my house most times. I’m absolutely positive it’s because of the Vaping and e-liquid.

      • S.

        June 9, 2018 at 6:24 pm

        I also,am having severe panic attacks. No doubt,my vaping habit is a serious contributing factor to those attacks.
        Obviously,the use of nicotine in any form,can help induce anxiety. I know also,that vaping can and does result in reduced airway/respiratory function,and increased HR,which just helps to open the doorway to possible panic attacks. I’ve not smoked a regular cigarette for the past four years,and I’m now ready to finally embrace quitting vaping,thru the help of nicotine aids. I don’t believe either vaping or cigarettes are safe,neither have they ever been. Our bodies were not designed with the idea of inhaling toxins or vapourous matters. The design was to inhale life-sustaining oxygen. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on vaping and smoking m, I actually have spent way more while vaping, and it has cost me health wise. I am not saying,vaping is terrible. I currently still vape. I am saying,that the fight against nicotine addiction has been a long one. I hope that someday,many of us can start and stay on the road to freedom from our addictions and with a commitment to a purer way of living,without the monkey on our back.

        • Erik

          September 9, 2018 at 8:23 am

          To David Robinson

          You say “Our bodies were not designed with the idea of inhaling toxins or vaporous matters.”

          That is probably somewhat true, but we have been around fire (and breathed its smoke) for more then 100,000 years, My guess is in that time we have evolved to breath and tolerate smoke more then any other animal in the history of the world. So I think we are somewhat evolved to tolerate and even take solace from taking in smoke.

      • Kenny

        June 24, 2018 at 9:59 pm

        I think it’s because of the higher amounts of nicotine you are using. Smoking is pretty much limited to a pack or two a day and that is the max most people will use. Vaping can have much higher amounts of nicotine and cause much stronger symptoms of withdrawal.

      • Mike Parkhill

        August 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm

        I am a 58 year old man and have been vaping for nearly 5 years having been a former 1 pack per day man. I have recently suffered from panic attacks. I have never experienced them before. I vape a lot! nearly all day although at .3mg. I am trying to get down to zero. I am seriously trying to get up the guts to give up.

      • Erik

        September 9, 2018 at 8:26 am

        Opps that comment was for S. comment not David Robinson.

  • Name

    April 10, 2018 at 10:29 pm

    It’s not the method of delivery, it’s the chemicals being delivered that cause mental health problems by altering the brain’s natural flow of neurotransmitters.

  • Thicc

    March 26, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    I CANT STOP JUULING MY DAD YELLS AT ME ALL THE TIME FOR DOING IT BUT I CANT STOP