College students are at an increased risk of developing nicotine dependence because of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and remain uneducated as it relates to the consequences behind these devices. These consequences include lung disease and injury. The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimates the prevalence of ENDS use among college students to be around 14% but continues to increase at extraordinary rates.
Nicotine dependence occurs when you need nicotine and can’t stop using it. Although most people are aware if they have a nicotine dependence, some symptoms include: you’ve made one or more serious, but unsuccessful, attempts to stop; you have withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop; attempts at stopping cause physical and mood-related symptoms such as strong cravings, irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood, frustration, or anger; you keep smoking despite health problems; and/or you give up on social activities such as not socializing with family or friends because you can’t use your ENDS device in these situations.
Nicotine is the most addictive chemical known to man and going through nicotine withdrawal can be tough. Because nicotine use affects so many parts of your body, nicotine withdrawal involves physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. But hang in there! It only takes 3 days for nicotine to leave your bloodstream and a few weeks for the emotional dependence to subside. When it ends, the nicotine will be out of your system. You’ll be healthier than you’ve been and felt in a long time.
Before you quit, it’s wise to have a plan for getting through these withdrawals. Many resources are made available online for free such as Smokefree.gov which offers helpful tips and tools for quitting, 1-800-QUIT-NOW is a hotline for free support, and https://everytrycounts.betobaccofree.hhs.gov/ is a text message program that fits where you are in your quit journey. You’ll receive texts with tips and encouragement to keep you on track.