Addiction

Blown up in smoke: Young adults who vape at greater risk of COVID symptoms

While the majority of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in people 65 or older, younger people who smoke or vape are at much higher risk of becoming infected — twice as likely as those in the same age group who do not use any nicotine-containing substance.

Brain plasticity in drug addiction: Burden and benefit

The brain’s neuroplasticity — its ability to adapt and change — makes it possible for us to learn new skills and solve complex problems, but it also makes some people more vulnerable to the consequences of substance use disorders. This same ability also makes it possible for a person to make cognitive modifications in order to change an addictive behavior.

If cannabis becomes a problem: How to manage withdrawal

There is disagreement over whether or not there is such a thing as a cannabis withdrawal syndrome, but it’s definitely real, and with increased availability of legal marijuana and other products, even those who use it medicinally need to be aware of the symptoms, and what to do if they think they have it.

Recovering from addiction during a time of uncertainty and social distancing

Because the very nature of recovery support involves face-to-face interaction, whether in support group meetings or dispensing medication, it is at odds with the need for social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis, creating barriers to receiving support and maintaining recovery.

EVALI: New information on vaping-induced lung injury

Molly Wolf, MD

Contributor

The surge in lung injuries and deaths related to the use of vaping products has raised many questions, along with concerns about potential long-term health issues caused by various ingredients and the heating process.

Dopamine fasting: Misunderstanding science spawns a maladaptive fad

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in the body’s system for reward and pleasure. A recent trend has people avoiding stimulating activities in the belief that doing so allows the body to reset from being overstimulated, but the original idea has been misunderstood and wrongly applied.

Puffing away sadness

The nicotine in cigarettes stimulates the nervous system, resulting in a mood boost. But does this mean that smokers will reach for a cigarette when they are feeling sad? Researchers found that sad feelings may cause some people to smoke.

What’s in a number? Looking at life expectancy in the US

Scott Weiner, MD

Contributor

Between 1959 and 2014, average life expectancy in the United States rose astoundingly by nearly a decade. Then it began declining. A recent report examining this situation raises tough questions about that unexpected change.

Vaping: It’s hard to quit, but help is available

As companies developed e-cigarette products, little or no consideration was given to their safety, and research on how to help people who want to quit has lagged. But if you are motivated to quit vaping, there are options and you should talk to a doctor.

Can vaping damage your lungs? What we do (and don’t) know

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Reports of severe lung illness experienced by hundreds of people who were using e-cigarettes again raise questions about the safety of vaping. While evidence suggests vaping can help some people stop smoking, potential health risks likely outweigh any benefit.