“Given the disproportionate burden of tobacco health harms in psychiatric patients, e-cigarettes are being considered as a potential tool for harm reduction.”
E-cigs are battery-powered devices that typically contain nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. The liquid is heated into an aerosol that the user inhales. The use of an electronic cigarette is colloquially called “vaping” as a contraction of the inhaled “vapor”. More than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2016. While E-cigs are not tobacco, the fact that they generally contain nicotine means that they are often considered as tobacco products. In fact, as of 2016 the FDA considers “Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems” as regulated tobacco products, although the deadline for regulatory compliance has been extended.
Within an 18-month tobacco-treatment clinical trial with smokers with serious mental illness over a five-year period, electronic cigarette use by those recruited for the trial increased over time, from 0% in 2009 to 25% in 2013. From this data the authors concluded that serious study should be given to the use of e-cigs as a psychiatric treatment for smoking cessation and/or mental disorders.
[“E-Cigarette Use among Smokers with Serious Mental Illness“, Judith J. Prochaska & Rachel A. Grana, 11/24/2014]
Psychiatric “best practices” recommend that psychiatrists assess tobacco use at every patient visit, since tobacco addiction is covered in the DSM-V under eight separate items, and disorders related to inhalant use have 33 entries. Therefore, the psychiatric industry considers that smoking cessation therapies are their territory, which now extends into vaping.
The DSM considers that addiction is a mental illness. It is not a mental illness and cannot be fixed with psychiatric drugs. This debunked medical model of mental distress is what justifies the prescription of harmful and addictive psychiatric drugs. There is certainly such a thing as addiction and mental distress. There can be physical addiction, which requires physical detoxification; and the mental distress, resulting from a lapse of ethics and morals and not from some hokey chemical imbalance in the brain, requires its own effective treatments.
We’ve written previously about harmful psychotropic drugs being used as smoking cessation therapies. One would expect there to be new psychiatric initiatives to use these for vaping addiction, since it opens up a new class of potential [-victims-] patients for the psychiatric industry. Don’t be fooled. There are non-drug methods to stop smoking or handle other forms of addiction, including addiction to psychiatric drugs themselves. Treating substance abuse with drugs is a major policy blunder; contact your state and federal representatives and let them know you disapprove of this trend.