Does Vaping Cause Anxiety?

Does Vaping Cause Anxiety?

In recent years, there has been a significant uptick in the amount of people who use a vape pen to inhale various substances. Vaping has many ill side effects, some of which haven’t even been discovered yet.

One negative side effect of vaping is anxiety. If you’ve vaped and dealt with anxiety in the past, chances are you’ve wondered if vaping causes anxiety. Dealing with a drug addiction and mental health crises at the same time can be incredibly overwhelming, so we’ve written this article to help you manage both your vaping and anxiety. Read on for more information.

Understanding Vaping and its Popularity

What is Vaping?

Vaping refers to the use of electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes, which are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid solution containing nicotine, turning it into an aerosol or vapor for inhalation. While some e-cigarettes may not list nicotine as an ingredient, studies have shown that the majority of them contain nicotine. In addition to nicotine, the liquid used in vaping devices can contain other chemicals and flavorings. It's important to note that vaping devices can also be used to consume cannabis in states where it is legal.

The Rise of Vaping

Vaping has quickly gained popularity, especially among young people. The appeal of vapes lies in their various flavors, colors, and shapes, making them attractive to teens and young adults. Many individuals perceive vaping to be less harmful than smoking traditional cigarettes, leading them to believe it is a safer alternative. Additionally, the lack of smoke and lingering odor associated with vaping has contributed to its rise in popularity.

The Link Between Vaping and Mental Health

Nicotine and Anxiety

Nicotine, the primary addictive substance found in most vaping products, has long been associated with heightened anxiety symptoms. While some individuals may turn to nicotine as a means to alleviate stress and anxiety temporarily, research suggests that nicotine use can actually worsen anxiety symptoms in the long term. The cyclical relationship between vaping and anxiety is not yet fully understood, but it is believed that the nicotine content in vapes plays a significant role in contributing to anxiety. So, when asking the question of “does vaping cause anxiety,” you need to realize that in the long run, you’ll likely experience more anxiety than in the short run.

Nicotine Addiction and Mental Health

Nicotine is highly addictive and is considered one of the most addictive substances in the world. The effects of nicotine on both physical and mental health are still being researched. When individuals become dependent on nicotine, quitting vaping or any other form of nicotine consumption can lead to withdrawal symptoms, including increased anxiety. Nicotine can also negatively affect parts of the brain associated with mood, attention, impulse control, and learning, making individuals more susceptible to mental health and addiction problems. This makes the question of “does vaping cause anxiety” just one question in a large group of potentially damaging mental health issues associated with vaping.

Research on Vaping and Anxiety

Studies on Vaping and Mental Health

The question of “does vaping cause anxiety” has lead to several studies that have examined the relationship between vaping and mental health, including anxiety. While research in this area is ongoing, there is evidence to suggest that vaping nicotine can contribute to anxiety symptoms. One study found that individuals who use e-cigarettes, particularly those who are already prone to anxiety, are at a higher risk of experiencing anxiety symptoms. Another study revealed that nicotine users who also suffer from anxiety and depression may have slower rates of improvement in their mental health compared to those who do not use nicotine.

Youth and Vaping

The prevalence of vaping among youth is a significant concern, as young people are more vulnerable to the negative effects of nicotine. According to data collected by Charlie Health, a nationwide virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for youth and young adults, a significant percentage of their clients reported using vapes. The study showed that 30% of the sample reported using vapes in the past 30 days, and 21.1% reported weekly or daily use. These findings highlight the need for addressing the potential impact of vaping on mental health, especially among young individuals. This means that there are thousands of young adults in the world wondering if vaping causes anxiety.

The Role of Nicotine Withdrawal

Does Vaping Cause Anxiety: Withdrawals

When individuals attempt to quit vaping or any other form of nicotine consumption, they may experience nicotine withdrawal. Nicotine withdrawal can last for a few weeks and is associated with various symptoms, including anxiety. The temporary relief that vaping provides may lead individuals to rely on it as a means of managing anxiety. However, in the long run, quitting nicotine has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, with individuals experiencing overall improvements in anxiety symptoms.

Does Vaping Cause Anxiety: Coping

While nicotine withdrawal can be challenging, there are coping strategies that individuals can employ to minimize its effects. Nicotine cessation therapy, exercise, yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices such as deep breathing exercises, and keeping the mouth busy with gum or hard candy are all techniques that can help individuals manage nicotine withdrawal symptoms. It's important to note that seeking professional help, such as counseling or therapy, can also be beneficial in navigating the challenges of nicotine withdrawal and addressing underlying anxiety.

The Importance of Quitting for Mental Health

Negative Effects of Vaping on Mental Health

Vaping has been shown to have negative effects on mental health, including anxiety. The high concentration of nicotine in many vaping products, coupled with its addictive nature, can exacerbate anxiety symptoms and hinder the recovery process from anxiety disorders. Quitting vaping can lead to overall improvements in mental health, allowing individuals to break free from the cycle of nicotine dependence and experience reduced anxiety symptoms.

Evidence-Based Approaches to Mental Health

If you have been struggling with anxiety or other mental health issues, it may be time to consider evidence-based approaches to improve your well-being. Seeking professional help from counselors or therapists who specialize in mental health and addiction can provide valuable support and guidance. Therapeutic interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) have been proven effective in treating anxiety disorders and can help individuals develop healthier coping mechanisms.


While the link between vaping and anxiety is still being explored, evidence suggests that vaping nicotine can contribute to anxiety symptoms and hinder the recovery process from anxiety disorders. Nicotine, the addictive substance found in vaping devices, is known to increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. However, quitting vaping and nicotine consumption can lead to improvements in mental health and overall well-being. If you are struggling with anxiety or other mental health issues, seeking professional help and adopting evidence-based approaches can help you on your journey to better mental health. Remember, you are not alone, and support is available to help you overcome the challenges associated with vaping and anxiety.


NIDA: Nicotine Addiction

CDC: Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

Medical News: Does Nicotine Calm Anxiety?

The smarter way to stay accountable
Real-time group support and personalized feedback to help you overcome addiction — no matter how many times you’ve tried.
Learn Morean iphone with the text identify where boundaries may have slipped

Find Effective, Evidence-Based Treatment in the Relay Program for Compulsive Vaping

There is help available to you if you or a loved one has a physical dependence or psychological dependence on vaping or nicotine. These urges and compulsive behaviors can control your life, but you can take back control. Relay's addiction recovery program provides a comprehensive, outpatient approach to behavioral change - at home, at your own pace. To each new program member, we provide a personalized recovery plan, a peer support group, progress tracking, journaling, and intelligent insights about your behavior patterns, all within a simple and secure mobile app Our proven approach helps program members achieve the best chance at long-term recovery without the time or expense of rehab or therapy. Try the Relay program for free here; if you need help as you get set up, contact us now at

relay logo

Get connected and stay accountable
with peers

Join a team

A better way to recovery, right in your pocket.

a cell phone with a text message on the screen