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Dealing with vaping addiction

Savannah Mejean

Imagine this: you’re trying to take a deep breath, but that breath feels like you’re in a jail cell. You sit in this cell, not knowing if your sentence is a death sentence or not. That’s how being addicted to vaping feels. It’s not knowing the long-term effects of vaping, or if the pack of cigarettes you smoked when you couldn’t afford a vape is going to eventually cause you to have cancer. It’s watching your loved ones rotting away from previous smoking habits, and not knowing if you’re next. It’s an impending doom that creeps over your body.

But worst of all, you want to quit, but the stress of being in college causes you to want to do it more.

I started vaping in November 2022, a couple of months into my first college semester. I was so stressed out and couldn’t deal with the pain, so I turned to partying which eventually introduced me to my most evil friend: nicotine.

My addiction followed me everywhere. I would hide my vape in my pockets or on my body somewhere, and I would sneak and hit it whenever nobody was watching. It was torture. If I didn’t have a fix in an hour, I would start to develop a headache. I would hide away in bathroom stalls or walk the journey to designated smoking areas, and it just overall made me feel embarrassed.

To be a college student and have a vaping addiction is embarrassing to me. I’m embarrassed because I feel like I should have my life together more, not be reliant on a three-inch battery. I’m embarrassed because I’m in college to succeed, and having a vaping addiction slows me down. I want to quit so bad, but the stress of writing papers and having a dreadful routine just drags me back to the smoke shop.

Everyone knows that being in college is an obstacle course. You’re starting out your adulthood in a place that is a lot like high school, but with a little more freedom. You don’t have your parents to guide you, only through a phone call or weekend visits, and that can be really hard on someone who doesn’t necessarily know what they’re doing.

It’s staying up until 4 a.m. writing papers, meeting new people who may or may not last in your life, going to labs that take everything out of you for the day. College is so many things that just build up over time. And if you’re not coping in a healthy way, you’re turning to self-destructive behavior that may cause a lifetime of chaos. Being addicted to nicotine is one of those things.

I remember trying to quit when I came back to school for my second year. I didn’t bring any of my vaping devices with me, and it made me really nervous. I thought; “It’s a new year and I’ve been getting better, maybe it’s time to put down the vape and focus on becoming the best version of myself.”

It didn’t take long for me to start truly withdrawing. A migraine that seemed never ending, a desire not to eat, being so shaky you can’t even pick up a pencil, and having body aches were just a couple of symptoms I had. It didn’t take long for me to skip my first class just to lay in bed and sit with my symptoms. I didn’t want to do anything, and that was troubling as a college student.

I persevered and went a month without buying a vape, but I eventually caved to my withdrawal symptoms and attempted to “wean” myself off it. I would puff a friend’s vape, and I bought nicotine mouth patches. But I was still missing the hit and closeness of having a vape with me.

Then, when my friend asked me if I wanted to have her vape, my addiction began all over again. In all honesty, I forgot I even had an addiction and let my routine go as normal. I just simply had a vape in my pocket, but that doesn’t make the addiction go away.

It’s been a couple of months since then, but I think I really want to try giving up vaping again.

There’s nothing more painful than your mom asking you if you still vape after telling her you quit, nothing more painful than seeing your loved ones ponder about your future health, nothing more painful than feeling hopeless, because you’re stuck in an addiction.

There is help available on campus, and I think I would like to try to quit again. I have a long road ahead of me, and I know there are other people in college going through the same thing. Enrolled students can request therapy services by calling the CU-Well intake line, 502-694-1444, or by logging into The office is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays. All appointments will be in the Student Services Building located at 1 University Drive.

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