Does Vaping Make You Anxious?

Do you know why vaping is such a big problem with school children? Because they are buying vapes, especially the brightly coloured disposable kind with child-friendly names and flavours, and getting hooked on them. And why are they engaging in this idiotic behaviour? Because vapes are easily available for purchase, online and at vape shops, and any enterprising youngster can easily get around the age barrier – you have to be 18 to buy them legally in the UK.

Therefore, what we need is ‘a well-regulated market, with vapes and liquids readily available to smokers whilst also implementing restrictions aimed at preventing youth uptake.’ In other words, to fix this problem we need more regulation! This is according to a view expressed in a recent edition of ISH (formally ASH) Daily News by a 78-year-old self-styled vaping barrister.

Not being convinced, I wrote to him and suggested that, instead of prohibition of vaping and tobacco products, we should aim for their abolition. After all, if they’re not available for people to buy, in theory that should fix the problem. And for smokers who wish to use vapes as a smoking cessation aid, they could be obtainable on prescription at pharmacies.

But he wasn’t having any of that. This is his argument:

I function perfectly normally with the nicotine vape and will be reducing it as my work and anxiety levels diminish. (My emphasis.)

I’m sure you’re perfectly aware of the ease with which youngsters get cigarettes although they’re breaking the law if they are under age. Would you prefer those intent on getting nicotine vapes to get cigarettes instead? I think not.

Every other prohibitionist model has produced organised crime to fight for territory. Buying alcohol is probably more deleterious that nicotine so what is wrong with having the same regimen for vapes?

It’s the old argument of ‘what about alcohol?’ on top of ‘if they can’t get nicotine vapes, they’ll smoke instead.’

I replied to this, but rather than further debating these points, I took him up on his confession mentioned in another online publication, that he was a lifelong smoker who developed cancer, after which he switched to vaping and has not had a cigarette in five years.

I sincerely hope he has been cured of his cancer. And now he’s vaping. This probably means that he’s sucking into his lungs hundreds of times every day a nicotine-laced aerosol. But he tells us he will be reducing his vaping as soon as his work and anxiety levels diminish.

It’s likely that vaping is less dangerous than smoking, but why is he vaping at all? He says it’s because of his work and anxiety levels. I trust his interesting and important work as a barrister doesn’t make him anxious, but could it be the nicotine in the vape that is causing his anxiety?

In other words, vapers, like smokers, are in an almost constant state of nicotine withdrawal, the cardinal symptom of which is anxiety. This is why they feel a need to keep putting nicotine into their bodies. It’s the nicotine itself which causes the anxiety, but if only he could cease vaping and become nicotine-free, it’s likely he would feel much less anxious.

I offered to help him return to this happy state, but unsurprisingly have heard nothing further from him.

This is the tragedy of nicotine addiction: those so afflicted don’t want to stop.

Text © Gabriel Symonds

Picture credit: Creative Commons


Gabriel Symonds

Dr Gabriel Symonds is a British medical doctor living in Japan who has developed a unique interactive stop smoking method. It involves no nicotine, drugs, hypnosis, or gimmicks but consists in helping smokers to demonstrate to themselves why they really smoke and why it seems so hard to stop doing it. Then most people find they can quit straightaway and without a struggle. He has used this approach successfully with hundreds of smokers; it works equally well for vapers. Dr Symonds also writes about transgenderism and other controversial medical matters. See

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