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The Impact of Tobacco Use on Behavioral Health

We’ve all heard it time and time again. Tobacco products, including vapes and nicotine pouches, lead to countless health problems like lung disease and heart failure — but those threats don’t stop with your physical body. When you use tobacco, it can get inside your mind.

Tobacco Use & Stress

You may use your cigarettes, vape devices or other tobacco products as a way to feel better and bring a momentary break to your stress. So many people just like you do the same thing. But the idea that nicotine reduces stress is a myth.

That’s exactly what tobacco companies want you to believe. They may tell you that using their products can help you relax or change how you feel. Nicotine does have the ability to change your mood by reaching your brain, but not the way they lead you to believe.

But even though it may feel like bliss in the moment, you’re actually setting yourself up to be more stressed later. Nicotine is addictive, which means that that feel-good chemical release doesn’t last for long, and it leaves you longing for more.

These cravings leave you feeling irritated and restless, leading to even more stress because your brain comes to rely on that chemical release from nicotine. And every time you give in to your cravings, the symptoms and stress of not using can get worse.

Those who have successfully quit vaping, smoking or using other tobacco products report that they feel less stressed and depressed.


Effects on Behavioral Conditions

Tobacco users are generally more likely to be diagnosed with a mental or behavioral health disorder. And it goes both ways, those with an existing condition are more likely to be a tobacco user than those who do not. These conditions can vary from anxiety and depression to more extreme conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In fact, those with disorders who use tobacco tend to use it even more often than those without a disorder.

You may think that this could never be you, but the addictive nature of nicotine can easily lead you down this path.

As a user, having any of these conditions may make quitting feel more difficult, but you can do it. Did you know that it takes an average of eight to 11 times to quit for good, according to the CDC? Stay strong.


Youth Mental Health

For those 25 and younger, the brain is still developing — which means it’s vulnerable. Young adults and youth are especially at risk for developing behavioral or mental health problems. Vaping or using other tobacco products while the brain develops could lead to permanent brain damage.



We Can Help

You don’t have to go it alone. If you live in South Dakota and are over the age of 13, the South Dakota QuitLine can help you beat the habit and protect your mind. Choose from phone or video coaching, hybrid text coaching, a Kickstart Kit or an interactive Quit Guide, and find a way that works best for you.




National Institute on Drug Abuse

Truth Initiative

American Lung Association

Center for Disease Control

National Library of Medicine