Researchers at Johns Hopkins published a study in December 2019 showing a link between e-cigarettes and depression. This isn’t the first study of it’s kind. There have been others. Depression and vaping are seen as having a bidirectional relationship. Depression leads to vaping and vaping increases depression symptoms over time. In the scientific community, study findings need to be replicated before the ideas presented in them are considered generally accepted. That means we need to see the same findings or conclusions from multiple studies with large sample sizes and randomized controls.
Vaping is another term for electronic cigarette. E-cigarettes are battery powered and they take liquids with nicotine or other substances like cannabis and vaporize it. You inhale the vapor instead of inhaling the smoke from a traditional cigarette. They were marketed as way to reduce your tobacco use. to stop smoking traditional cigarettes.
The liquid or e-juice is made by extracting nicotine from tobacco and mixing it with a base like propylene glycol. Then they add a flavor. All of these are being inhaled into your lungs, which is more than what you were inhaling with cigarettes. So even though you are not exposing yourself to burning leaves, the vaporized liquid exposes you to other toxins that are mixed into the liquid.
Why does this cause or worsen depression?
Even if we ignore the other toxins, prolonged nicotine exposure disrupts the dopamine pathways in your brain and increase your stress sensitivity. Also, nicotine increases oxidative stress and free radical formation in your cells. I talk about this in a video I did on how oxidative stress affects your brain and is linked several psychiatric illnesses.
Unfortunately, vaping has become very popular among teenagers. But there has been recent news about vaping related lung disorders. That’s pretty scary, but even if you don’t vape enough for it to cause lung disease, keep in mind that it can also affect you mentally by causing or worsening depression. Also, the effect may not be immediate. Some people in the studies had stopped vaping but then later on developed depression as a recurring illness. So vaping in the short-term can set you up for depression in the long term.
Oxidative Stress Video
Obisesan OH, Mirbolouk M, Osei AD, et al. Association Between e-Cigarette Use and Depression in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016-2017. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(12):e1916800.
Lechner WV, Janssen T, Kahler CW, Audrain-McGovern J, Leventhal AM. Bi-directional associations of electronic and combustible cigarette use onset patterns with depressive symptoms in adolescents. Prev Med. 2017;96:73-78.
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Disclaimer: All of the information on this channel is for educational purposes and not intended to be specific/personal medical advice from me to you. Watching the videos or getting answers to comments/question, does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you have your own doctor, perhaps these videos can help prepare you for your discussion with your doctor.