A new study suggests that people who smoke e cigs are twice as likely to report clinical depression as those who have never vaped. The connection among the younger people was particularly strong.
Known as vaping, battery-powered e-cigarettes use heat to deliver a nicotine and flavor aerosol mixture to the user. The e-cigarette produces a small cloud of vapor, whereas a cigarette releases smoke.
Many people believe that there is water in the vapor. This actually contains different amounts of toxic chemicals that are associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as cancer.
After their creation a decade ago, the use of e-cigarettes in the United States has snowballed.
E-cigarettes were used by an estimated 10.8 million people in the U.S. in 2016, according to the Annals of Internal MedicineTrusted Source. Of this total, 2.8 million (9.2%) were between the ages of 18 and 24.
Today, some researchers see vaping as a youth epidemic, the number of high school students who switched to vaping doubled in 2018.
A study published in OpenTrusted Source’s JAMA Network now identifies a significant connection between vaping and depression.
Although the study was primarily prompted by links between traditional cigarettes and depression, the results of an earlier study showing that 9.1 percent of those with depression were users of e-cigarettes, compared to 4.5 percent of the general population, was also a factor.
John Hopkins University’s first author of the study, Dr. Olufunmilayo Obisesan, MD, told Medical News that: “Combustible cigarette smoking has been linked with an increased risk of developing major depressive disorder and has also been shown to be highly predictive of future suicidal behavior among individuals with a history of depression.”
“In light of the similarities in some of the constituents of cigarettes and e-cigarettes, we decided to explore the existence of a similar association between e-cigarettes and depression.”
In a cross-sectional research study of 2016–2017 data collected by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the study examined the responses of approximately 900,000 randomly sampled adults aged 18 and older.
The BRFSS is the largest national telephone survey carried out in the U.S.
“The researchers found that 34% of current e-cigarette users reported having experienced clinical depression compared to 15% of those who had never vaped. Also, 27% of former users were more likely to report clinical depression compared to 15% of those who had never used e-cigarettes.
The most significant connection between e-cigarette use and depression was found in college students aged 18–25.
Especially because young people are generally more likely to experiment with new products such as e-cigarettes, the scientists focused on this group. Through marketing campaigns, tobacco companies also target this demographic.
Dr. Olufunmilayo Obisesan said: “The main implication of our findings for the youth is that they need to know that there are potential mental health effects associated with the use of e-cigarettes.”
The study also found that in people who vaped most often, the correlation between e-cigarette use and depression was stronger.
Dr. Obisesan said that to MNT. “Clinically, our study provides information that physicians could consider when counseling patients seeking information about e-cigarettes, especially those with depression,”
He added that the study emphasized the need for doctors and health professionals to routinely collect information on e-cigarette from individuals during clinic visits, especially among those with mental health conditions.
Dr. Obisesan said to MNT: “We hope that our study will provide a baseline for future longitudinal studies that can confirm our findings and establish the direction of association between e-cigarette use and depression, which we currently believe to be bi-directional.”


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