Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. So, when it comes to protecting it, knowing how vaping and smoking impacts your mental wellness is important. Tobacco companies market vapes as a de-stressor and want you to think vaping is a healthy alternative to smoking, but they’re not telling the truth.
Research shows those who vape are 2x as likely to be diagnosed with depression than those who don’t.
When you’re addicted, vaping might seem like a quick fix, but that’s just nicotine covering your withdrawal. And though quitting vapes can be hard, it can improve your mental health as much as antidepressants.1, 2, 3
Tobacco companies have a history of using attractive flavors and packaging to target teens. But there are tons of not-so-pretty risks when it comes to vaping. Knowing the facts can help you keep sight of your values and priorities. 4
Vapes contain the same cancer-causing chemicals as cigarettes, have nicotine which can weaken your immune system, and have been shown to double the risk of chronic bronchitis symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.6, 7, 8, 9
Vaping can actually cause all of the above. Vapes contain the same cancer-causing chemicals as cigarettes, have nicotine which can weaken your immune system, and have been shown to double the risk of chronic bronchitis symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.6, 7, 8, 9
Vapes and cigarettes aren’t cheap. Buying them could stop you from affording what you’d rather spend money on, like hobbies, clothes, or entertainment.*
In Washington State, it’s illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase vaping or commercial tobacco products.
Younger siblings and friends may consider you a role model. Vaping and smoking can damage that trust or influence others to use, putting those who matter most to you at risk.
Traditional tobacco has been used for spiritual and medicinal purposes by Indigenous peoples for centuries and continues to be used today. The tobacco plant is considered a sacred gift by many Native American communities. 16
Commercial tobacco is mass-produced by big tobacco companies for profit. They add harmful chemicals and using can cause health issues or death. 16
Vaping and commercial tobacco companies target vulnerable groups like BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities, which means they are more likely to use and face addiction.23
Vaping products are often littered. They don’t biodegrade and are toxic to the environment and animals.24
Choose Healthy Coping
When life gets overwhelming, reaching for a vape or cigarette may seem like a quick fix, but nicotine can actually keep you from finding your calm. The next time things get stressful, give one (or more!) of these ideas a go.
Facing your feelings instead of choosing to ignore them can be a way to embrace your true self by honoring your emotions.
Start by identifying your feelings. Then, ask yourself what might be causing them.
When you’re overwhelmed, accomplishing anything can feel impossible.
Try breaking things down into more manageable, bite-sized pieces. Bonus: This helps you check more things off your to-do list (what a great feeling!).
You don’t have to deal with difficult emotions on your own.
Find a friend, family member, or someone you trust like a coach or teacher to help work things out. Sometimes, simply having someone to listen to you is enough.
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can help restore a sense of peace.
Feeling stressed? Try stretching, getting outside, or doing a home workout.
Spend dedicated time on your creative hobbies or explore a new one.
Jamming out on an instrument, putting your thoughts in a poem, and doing a puzzle are just a few ways to give your mind a welcomed break.
When you’re feeling stressed, it can be tempting to shut everything and everyone out.
Volunteering is a great way to stay connected with your community or plug into a cause you care about.
Doomscrolling and tech fatigue are too real.
Though staying in touch with friends is great, unplugging from social media every once in a while can help reduce feelings of stress and burnout.
Choose Getting Help
If you or a friend are struggling with nicotine addiction or just need someone to talk to, help is out there.
Support with quitting
A free and anonymous app that helps you deal with difficult thoughts, urges, and cravings caused by nicotine.
This is Quitting
A text-to-quit vaping service for people in Washington ages 13-24. Text DITCHVAPE to 88709.
Washington State Quitline
Offers free, confidential, 1-on-1 counseling to help people quit smoking, vaping, or other tobacco products. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).
Asian smokers’ quitline
Offers free 1-on-1 counseling and resources to help people quit smoking in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Live Vape Free
A youth texting program for teens ages 13 to 17 that is fun, easy-to-navigate, and teaches the skills to quit vaping for good. Text VAPEFREE to 873373.
Support with mental health
A free, confidential help line for teens by teens. Call, text, or chat 1-866-833-6546 evenings from 6pm-10pm PT.
Washington Recovery Help Line
A 24/7 confidential help line for anyone struggling with substance abuse or mental health. Call 1-866-789-1511.
Crisis text line
A free 24/7 text-based crisis intervention service. Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor.
Native and strong lifeline
A crisis line dedicated to supporting Washington’s American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Call or text 9-8-8 +4.
988 Suicide & Crisis lifeline
A free 24/7 crisis line that provides confidential support for those in distress. Call or text 9-8-8.
View all sources
Choose your mental health
1 The Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy. (2020). Update on the Subcommittee’s E-Cigarette Investigation (PP. 1-46).
3 Smokefree.gov, Vaping Addiction and Nicotine Withdrawal, 2022
Choose the facts
4 American Lung Association, 8 of the Top Strategies Big Tobacco Used to Target Kids with E-Cigarettes , 2023
12 American Lung Association, The Impact of E-Cigarettes on the Lung, 2022
13 Campaign for Tobacco- Free Kids, Industry Watch E-Cigarettes: Flavored Products Fuel a Youth Epidemic, 2022
14 Smokefree.gov, Vaping Addiction and Nicotine Withdrawal, 2022
15 Bi-Directional Associations of Electronic and Combustible Cigarette Use Onset Patterns with Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents. William V. Lechner, Tim Janssen, Christopher W. Kahler, Janet Audrain-McGovern, and Adam M. Leventhalc
16 Keep it Sacred: National Native Network, Traditional vs. Commercial Tobacco
17 Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, The Toll of Tobacco in Washington, 2023
18 American Lung Association, The Impact of E-Cigarettes on the Lung, 2022
19 Yang I, Sandeep S, Rodriguez J. The Oral Health Impact of Electronic Cigarette Use: A Systematic Review. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2020 Feb;50(2):97-127. doi: 10.1080/10408444.2020.1713726. Epub 2020 Feb 11. Erratum in: Crit Rev Toxicol. 2020 Apr 14;1. PMID: 32043402.
20 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking, 2021
21 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. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.16800
22 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Reducing Vaping Among Youth and Young Adults. SAMHSA Publication No. PEP20-06-01-003. Rockville, MD: National Mental Health and Substance Use Policy Laboratory, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2020
23 National LGBT Cancer Network, Smoking is a Social Justice Issue & We are Fighting for Our Lives
24 UNDO. Vapes: 3 Types of Toxic Waste in 1, 2022
5 The Truth, The Facts, 2023
6 American Cancer Society, What Do We Know About E-Cigarettes, 2022
7 American Lung Association. “Another Gross Reason to Put Down the E-Cigarettes.” Each Breathe: A Blog by the American Lung Association, 27 June 2019
8 McConnell R, Barrington-Trimis JL, Wang K, ET AL. Electronic Cigarette Use and Respiratory Symptoms in Adolescents. 2017;195(8):1043-1049.
9 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking, 2021
10 Characterizing the Chemical Landscape in Commercial E-Cigarette Liquids and Aerosols by Liquid Chromatography–High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry. Mina W. Tehrani, Matthew N. Newmeyer, Ana M. Rule, and Carsten Prasse. Chemical Research in Toxicology 2021 34 (10), 2216-2226 DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemrestox.1c00253
Choose getting help
25 The 2021 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey: http://www.askhys.net/