Although the connection between vaping and gaming might seem arbitrary at first, but if we consider the history of smoking and its impact on gamers, it starts to make more sense. For instance, the traditional cigar and cigarettes have existed for centuries. It’s been around for a long time. It’s only in the recent century where a more modern rendition of cigarettes — the e-cigarette, vape, was invented. This new-wave cigarette is a more economical form of smoking. Vapers can either purchase extra-strength cartridges with higher nicotine concentrations or increase the vape voltage to consume a stronger whiff of the tobacco. Thus, these factors greatly reduce the number of visits required to replenish stock, demonstrating why more and more gamers are switching to vaping to satisfy their nicotine fix.
Despite the mass media largely reporting the negative impacts of nicotine, are there really no benefits to this substance? Well, the answer is rather complex. Although nicotine addiction introduces a large array of health concerns, the substance has also been scientifically proven to boost attentional focus and motor skills; and goes in hand with a good gaming laptop to achieve peak performance. Just like any other competitive activity, e-sports requires intense focus, and a lot of competitive gamers end up resorting to boost substances to elevate their performance. However, studies have proven that the negatives of vaping still painfully outweigh the supposed positives.
Nicotine and the Body
During vaping, nicotine is absorbed into the lung via water vapor which enters the bloodstream to the brain all within a span of ten seconds. When in contact with nicotine, the brain undergoes a series of chemical reactions to produce dopamine, the “happy” chemical, and alleviates stress levels. Another chemical produced is adrenaline which rapidly increases heart rate and blood pressure. Unfortunately, these feelings are temporary and fleeting, thus warranting the desire for more vaping to continually experience the effects.
Specifically, the release of dopamine through vaping is similar to its release when smoking cocaine — both of which induce significant levels of it. To put things in perspective, regular vapers will begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms within 15 to 20 minutes without it. Moreover, within two hours, there’ll only be half the quantity of nicotine remaining in your system. Therefore, the cycle perpetuates itself and eventually builds into an addiction.
The Addictiveness of Nicotine
It goes without saying that nicotine is an extremely powerful substance. By continuously ingesting it, it reinforces the brain’s reward circuit of desiring more and more nicotine each time in order to experience the brief euphoric sensation.
However, what many vapers aren’t aware of is that continuously ingesting nicotine alters the learning and self-control pathways within the brain too. Consequently, the signals involved in these neural pathways end up invoking stronger withdrawal symptoms. Thus, with every vape, it literally becomes increasingly difficult to resist and reject nicotine due to the brain’s rewiring.
Death by Nicotine?
Another dangerous fact about nicotine that many people turn a blind eye to is that it’s still considered a poison and has the capacity to kill. All it takes is half a gram of pure, concentrated nicotine to shut the whole body system down. However, rest assured, the quantity ingested through smoking or vaping is not nearly enough to kill you. Half a gram of nicotine is equivalent to 60 cigarettes at one go or approximately 120 drops/6 millilitres/54 milligrams in e-liquid.
Although these numbers demonstrate the low risk of death by nicotine, they should not be taken lightly. In fact, they should be heeded with even more caution because one JUUL pod, for example, is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes; and the fact that many gamers will chain-smoke during their marathon sessions, this means that they can easily finish two or three JUUL pods within a day. Now, that’s terrifying statistics!
Nicotine for Pre-game
So now begs the question, should nicotine be ingested before gaming as a warm-up? According to a 2010 study conducted, researchers discovered that nicotine has the potential to boost attention, focus, speed, memory, and hand-eye coordination. However, all these effects were only noted in subjects without any withdrawal symptoms. Essentially, this meant that these positive effects of nicotine could only be experienced in either a healthy human being or within the first two hours of consumption. After this, cognitive decline begins to set in as nicotine is depleted from the system. Therefore, nicotine is only a temporary booster and is not beneficial in the long run.
Drawbacks of Nicotine for Gamers
It stands to reason why cigarettes and vapes are considered undesirable goods and have heavy taxes imposed on them by the government. If you become addicted to nicotine, you’ll be in a consistent state of withdrawal.
Some of the top negative consequences of nicotine withdrawal include memory loss, attentional deficit, and reduced blood flow in the body. All these factors combined result in a dramatically-reduced performance and muscle atrophy over time, compounded by the fact that gaming is a sedentary activity and lifestyle.
Over time, the hand and wrist muscles become more “fragile” and more prone to injuries. Overall, a heavy usage of nicotine for gaming will incur a harmful reliance on the substance, causing your brain to only associate peak game performance with nicotine rather than on your own aptitude. Additionally, nicotine is also known to cause several unwanted repercussions such as anxiety as a by-product of adrenaline. Since it’s the “fight or flight” hormone, it’s not uncommon for many consumers to experience intense bouts of anxiety under the effects of nicotine, in spite of the presence of dopamines.
You Want Out?
If you’re currently suffering from the addictions of nicotine and want out, rest assured there are many resources and professionals to help you on your road to recovery. Medical professionals can definitely help create solid plans in quitting nicotine. Exercise is also a beneficial habit to inculcate because it’s a much healthier way of experiencing endorphins in your system. Lastly, L-theanine might also be beneficial because it enables consumers to experience more of the positive effects of caffeine as opposed to the negatives.
At the end of the day, it is your body and your choice. Even though we strongly discourage gamers from relying on performance-enhancing substances due to their toxic and addictive nature, we can only do our best to educate them accordingly. Health is everyone’s personal responsibility and should never be forsaken or taken for granted. It’s always better to seek healthier alternatives to experience similar results. Your body is guaranteed to thank you better for that.