Smoking Causes Depression in Teens

I started smoking when I was a teenager in high school, almost immediately after starting as a freshman. I was 15 and I remember doing it because all of my friends were doing it. During lunch breaks it felt good to go stand outside the little store across the street from the school, talking about whatever. I thought it helped me relax and relieve stress from all of the hard school work. Now when I look back on it though, I realize I was only trying to fit in. It was one of the worst decisions of my life.

After reviewing a study from scientists at the University of Toronto and the University of Montreal on the “Use of cigarettes to improve affect and depressive symptoms in a longitudinal study of adolescents,” I wonder if it may have entirely changed the course of my life. While many young teens, and people in general, think that smoking improves mood and has self-medicating effects, the recent study actually shows that in the long-term, teens who smoke report higher depressive symptoms.

This study took 662 high school students from grades 7 to 11 and asked them up to 20 questions regarding their use of cigarettes as mood enhancers. To provide a wider range of results, they also mixed in students from secondary schools, urban and rural schools, French and English students and schools located in neighborhoods of varying levels of socioeconomics.

There were three groups: those who have never smoked, those who did not use cigarettes to self-medicate, and those who did use cigarettes to self-medicate. The research looked at several symptoms that show signs of depression; anxiety, nervousness, feeling tired often, trouble going to sleep, feelings of hopelessness, feeling unhappy and worrying too much.

Based on the above signs of depression, the study showed that smokers who used cigarettes as mood enhancers had higher risks of depressive symptoms as compared to teens who have never smoked.

Now the reason I wonder if my own smoking habits as a teen has altered my course in life is because I also had small bouts of depression. Never to the point of requiring professional help, but my friends can tell you that I would get quite down on myself. I felt hopelessness for my future and in 10th grade I dropped out of high school. I began hanging out with some bad people and got into a lot of trouble. I just didn’t care anymore.

A year and a half after dropping out of school, I took a hard look at my life and was embarrassed at what I had thrown away and what my family thought of me. I could see it in their faces. So I went back to school, graduated and went to college. I’ve never been happier.

I’m not saying that cigarettes had anything to do with this entire series of events, but what if it did?

*image courtesy of Valentin.Ottone

My First Week of Vaping

Green Smoke Battery and Charger

During the first week of owning an electronic cigarette, I found myself using it waaaaay more often than I smoke regularly. I was almost worried that it would lead me to becoming a heavier smoker. I think I was so excited to have this new gadget that I just couldn’t put it down. Not to mention the awesome chocolate flavored cartridge I was using.

After the first week, my vaping habits started aligning with how I had smoked before getting the e-cig. I wasn’t vaping more than normal.

Another one of my worries was that when I was drinking, the electronic cigarette wouldn’t stop my cravings for regular cigarettes, but it worked perfectly for me. I vaped it as often as I normally would smoke cigarettes and I had no desire to smoke a Kool (my usual brand).

I also started to realize that all of a sudden I knew when to stop smoking it. Since an electronic cigarette doesn’t burn down like a normal cigarette, I was never sure how much to vape, but after only a couple of days it became natural for me to know when to stop. As soon as I had enough of the nicotine I craved, I was able to put the e-cig down after a normal amount of time. It usually takes me about 3-4 minutes to smoke a cigarette, and now it’s about the same with the e-cigarette.

I saw and felt the benefits of the electronic cigarette almost immediately after buying it. The best part is that I don’t struggle for air and wheeze anymore while I’m working out. I love this thing!

What Exactly Are Electronic Cigarettes?


The best thing abut vaping is that you can continue to get that feeling of smoking, without having to inhale the toxins that are common in normal cigarettes. Normal cigarettes are addictive because of the nicotine they contain, in combination with the other chemicals added by tobacco companies. Nicotine by itself has been found to be safe, but all of the other chemicals in cigarettes are designed to send that nicotine through your body quickly. It’s these chemicals that destroy your body and lungs and eventually cause cancer.

The tar that coats your lungs, the smoke and other toxins that burn through the delicate tissue inside your body – that doesn’t exist in electronic cigarettes. What you’re inhaling is not smoke, it’s vapor. So you’re not really smoking at all. You’re “vaping.”

The battery of a vaporizer heats up the ingredients of the e-juice to the point of it turning into a vapor. When you inhale the vapor, it’s warm and typically has a throat hit, so it still feels like smoke and it comes out of your mouth like smoke too. This gives you the feeling like you’re actually smoking. For me, this experience makes it so that I don’t crave a cigarette right after vaping. An e-cig actually gets the job done.

E-juices contain only Propylene Glycol (a common food additive), vegetable glycerine, purified water, nicotine and flavor. You have a pretty good idea of what you’re putting into your body with an electronic cigarette.

Since you can purchase e-juice at various levels of nicotine – 24mg, 16mg, 8mg, 6mg, 4mg and even 0mg – you can use an electronic cigarette to eventually wean yourself to lower levels of nicotine and maybe from nicotine altogether if that’s your goal.

There are many great flavors too, such as chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, but if you prefer the taste of regular tobacco, you can get that too.

A cartridge will last approximately as long as one pack of cigarettes and at a fraction of the price. You can purchase a 5-pack of cartridges for about $15. Depending on where you live, 5 packs of cigarettes would cost anywhere from $30-$45 or more.

Or if you decide to use a refillable tank, a 30 ml bottle of e-juice is equivalent to about 15 packs of cigarettes and typically costs around $16. That’s a huge savings.

The money you stand to save by using an electronic cigarette is worth the price alone.

You can get a full kit with everything you need for as low as $60. This includes two batteries, a charger, and a variety of cartridges.

Or you can build your own advanced kit, which would allow you to refill your own tank for cheaper, give you a larger variety of e-juice flavors to choose from and a lot more battery power.

When you have these things, all you have to worry about buying in the future is additional cartridges or e-juice. Your battery can be charged as often as you need it and should be able to hold enough charge for one full day of heavy vaping and even longer for more casual smokers.

There are plenty of reasons to buy an electronic cigarette. You’ll also feel great knowing that you don’t have to fork over your hard-earned money for the ridiculous prices of tobacco cigarettes.

Let's Vape!