Samaritas is Helping Youths Quit Vaping
Gabby Salas / Thursday, January 12, 2023 / Categories: Uncategorized, Finding Help

Samaritas is Helping Youths Quit Vaping

Vaping among teens has become a significant public health concern due to its dangers to their developing brains and the risk of addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most e-cigarettes, or vapes, contain nicotine, the addictive drug found in traditional cigarettes and other tobacco products. A CDC study found that 99% of e-cigarettes sold in the United States contain nicotine; however, some vape product labels do not disclose the presence of nicotine, and some vape liquids marketed as containing no nicotine have been found to contain the substance.

This is concerning as nicotine can harm the adolescent brain, which is still developing until 25 years of age. Using nicotine during this critical period can damage the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. Young people's brains are more receptive to the effects of nicotine and build synapses, or connections between brain cells, faster than adult brains. Nicotine can alter how these synapses are formed, which can have long-term consequences on brain development.

The effects of nicotine addiction on youth mental health are also significant. When a person becomes dependent on nicotine and stops using it, their body and brain must adjust to not having the substance, which can lead to temporary withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include irritability, restlessness, anxiety or depression, trouble sleeping, problems concentrating, and cravings for nicotine. Youth may turn to vapes to cope with stress or anxiety, creating a cycle of nicotine dependence. However, addiction to nicotine itself can be a source of stress and may lead to mental health symptoms such as depression. The most common reason U.S. middle and high school students give for trying e-cigarettes is "a friend used them," while the most common reason they give for continuing to use them is "I am feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed."

To help teens struggling with quitting vaping, the Samaritas Adolescent Vaping Program offers a comprehensive treatment program that includes personalized assessments, individual and group counseling, and coping and resiliency skills development. Some of the topics covered in the program's group sessions include the progression of substance use, the disease concept of addiction, the impact of stress and traumatic events, and the role of reinforcement in addiction.

Client feedback suggests that the Samaritas Vaping Program is helping adolescents and their families in the Oakland County and Grand Rapids areas of Michigan. One parent reported being grateful to have found the program and said they thought services like it were "non-existent." Those who participated in the program also expressed relief from these services and have benefited from the sessions.

The dangers of vaping among teens are significant and can have lasting impacts on their developing brains and mental health. Using nicotine during adolescence may also increase the risk of future addiction to other drugs. Programs like the Samaritas Adolescent Vaping Program can provide much-needed support and resources for teens seeking to quit vaping and overcome addiction.

At Samaritas, we believe in early intervention, evidence-based treatment, and a respectful, reflective process with adolescents. For questions about this program, please call (833) 720-9355


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