The CDC reported this week that teen suicide rose 58% over the years 2007-2017 in the age group 10-24. Although many experts blame social media and teen drug use, one theory may need to be considered: nicotine withdrawal from vaping.
Millions of middle school and high school students admit to vaping…and many more are assumed who don’t admit to it when surveyed. So we have an underestimation of how many adolescents take regular hits of their electronic cigarette, exposing them to the powerful, addictive nicotine. One pod, placed in an electronic cigarette to be vaped, contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Hence if a pod is smoked at school, and when the child is home goes hours without, they may “come down” off the nicotine high that they had hours earlier.
In 2002 Picciotto et al discussed how nicotine can affect mood swings, anxiety and depression, where in some cases it can act as an antidepressant but when one withdrawals from it can have increased and anxiety and depression.
The teenage mind and psyche is still developing during this time and a chemical dependency could muddy the mental health waters.
There’s no doubt social media and the misconception teens have that their lives are not as glorious as those who they view online is contributing to lack of confidence, poor self-esteem and depression. But the decision to commit suicide may also be chemically induced, or a withdrawal of one and should be investigated.
A study from New York University found the nicotine in electronic cigarettes to cause DNA damage similar to cigarette smoking.
Dr. Moon-shong Tang and his colleagues exposed mice to e-cig smoke during a three-month period, 5 days a week for three hours a day. They found these mice, compared to those breathing filtered air, to have DNA damage to cells in their bladders, lungs and hearts. The amount of nicotine inhaled was approximately 10mg/ml. That dose would be commonly consumed by many humans who vape.
They then looked at human bladder and lung cells and found tumor cells were able to grow more easily once exposed to nicotine and vaping chemicals.
Last May, researchers from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville found e-cig smoke to increase one’s risk of bladder cancer.
In 2015, the University of Minnesota identified chemicals commonly found in e-cig vapor to include:
Although electronic cigarette “juice” may appear safe, it could produce harmful chemicals once heated to become a vapor.
A lethal dose of nicotine for an adult ranges from 30-60 mg and varied for children (0.5-1.0 mg/kg can be a lethal dosage for adults, and 0.1 mg/kg for children). E-cigs, depending on their strengths (0 – 5.4%) could contain up to 54 mg of nicotine per cartridge (a 1.8% e -cig would contain 18mg/ml).
The topic of nicotine increasing one’s vulnerability to cancer is nothing new as decades ago researchers found nicotine to affect the cilia (brush border) along the respiratory tree, preventing mucus production and a sweeping out of carcinogens trying to make their way down to the lungs.
More research needs to be performed but this recent report reminds us that exposing our delicate lung tissue and immune system to vaping chemicals may not be as safe as we think.
For more on the study read here.
Last week, experts warned that many chemicals in vaping liquid may change to toxic substances (once heated) that can irritate the lungs.
Last year one study reported that toxic levels of lead and other metals may leak from the heating coil element into the vapor inhaled during e-cig use.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found these metals to include:
We’ve known for some time that vaping fluid could contain chemicals that turn toxic once heated, but this study shed light on e-cig metal components causing metal leakage to the vapor making contact with delicate respiratory epithelium (lining).
Reported by Forbes, Rich Able, a medical device marketing consultant, stated the following, “the FDA does not currently test any of the most popular vaping and e-cigarette instruments being manufactured at unregulated factories in Asia that source low-grade parts, batteries, and materials for the production of these devices,” suggesting that “the metal and parts composition of these devices must be stringently tested for toxic analytes and corrosive compounds.”
These chemicals may act as neurotoxins, affecting our nervous system, cause tissue necrosis (cell death) and even multi-organ failure. Moreover, they can affect how our immune system reacts to other chemicals as well as foreign pathogens, affecting our ability to fight other diseases.
Although studies have suggested e-cig vapor to be safer than tobacco smoke, not enough research has been done, in the relatively few years vaping has been around, looking at how heat-transformed chemicals and leaked metals affect our breathing, lungs and other organs once absorbed into the body.
Jeffrey Epstein's cause of death has been ruled a suicide by hanging; however, there a series of conspiracy theories that suggest he was strangled. There are some distinct physical findings that would differentiate the two.
66 year-old Jeffrey Epstein, who recently pleaded not guilty of sex trafficking charges, was found dead in his jail cell on August 10. He had recently been on suicide watch and reports initially suggested he had hung himself by his bed sheet.
However, the results of the financier’s autopsy suggest he sustained trauma consistent with hanging (after preliminary reports suggested strangulation). How do forensic experts tell the difference?
With hanging, one drops from a height and suspends, incurring a fracture of a neck bone which in turn may sever the spinal cord.
A severe blood pressure drop can ensue and the victim may die within minutes
As seen above, a “hangman’s fracture” is seen with hyperextension injuries where the pars interarticularis on the pedicle of the C2 vertebrae becomes fractured. The distance of the drop is crucial in determining the success of the execution. A drop to long could cause beheading, a drop too short could cause strangulation.
If they do strangulate ...they asphyxiate (lose air flow), or lose blood flow from their carotid arteries being compromised.
From a capital punishment standpoint, hanging is one of the most common and barbaric ways to execute. Three states still have this form of execution as an option if lethal injection is not available (DE, NH, WA).
Strangulation occurs when one compresses the structures of the neck causing decrease air and blood flow. It could be executed using a ligature (scarf, sheet, cord) or by one’s hands. Moreover, it can occur if a hanging drop is improperly calculated. Many times the hyoid bone is fractured (1/3 of all homicides) as its think U-shape is vulnerable to the forces of strangulation.
So injuries incurred can be similar in both strangulation and hanging, especially if the latter is done improperly and ineffectively severs the spinal cord.
However, since hanging causes a blood pressure drop and strangulation causes a backup of pressure into the head due to vessel constrictions, on autopsy one may find more signs of hemorrhage (retinal hemorrhages) and swelling (brain edema) during strangulation than accurate hanging.
The 20 year old model allegedly slit her wrists earlier Saturday. She was treated and released by a local hospital, despite earlier reports that she would be held for observation.
TMZ reports the pedophile allegations made against her father Michael Jackson might have incited this latest attempt on her life. (Editor's note: Paris Jackson is out of the hospital and denies any suicide attempt. She claims she was injured in an "accident" and had to go to the hospital because of it. So- maybe, maybe not, right?) In 2013 she attempted to commit suicide by slitting her wrists as well. She is currently being supervised by her team of doctors.
This is a developing story.
Each year 47,000 Americans take their lives. That averages to 123 people a day. And each suicide affects everyone with whom the person has regular encounters. So why is it so common? Here are six reasons people choose to end their life.
When tragedy strikes, whether it be an accident, break up, job loss, missed opportunity, some can’t see “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Many think and navigate through life one step at a time, which may be productive when it comes to tackling tasks, but if they feel the obstacle in front of them is insurmountable they may believe their options are far and few between, with death being the only out.
Many of us have been trained to act on a whim. We quickly reply to a text, pop some food in the microwave, flick the controller while playing a video game…and these quick, instinctive acts are becoming apart of our daily behavior. So when one has a fleeting thought of suicide, they may be less likely to slow down and think it through.
This is one of the least discussed reasons people commit suicide, but unfortunately more common than we think. Although most of us fear death and dying, some pathologically can’t handle the thought of it happening out of the blue. Those who need control and need to plan ahead, may find solace in the fact that they are planning their own death. They can’t control their birth but they can control their death, they believe, and for those who feel they have lost control of their life may find this tragic option welcoming.
Hollywood stereotypes depression as a woman sitting on a couch eating ice cream to combat the tears and loneliness of a breakup. But many have symptoms of severe depression and don’t know it.
So many self medicate either by over-eating, drinking alcohol, smoking weed, or taking pills, which when wears off, can sink one into a lower funk. Without psychological or medical intervention, one struggles to recover.
Since so many people are undiagnosed when it comes to depression, family members and friends are unaware their loved one is struggling. Going about one’s business may be inferred as indifference by someone suffering from a mood disorder. “They won’t even notice I’m gone,” pervades their thoughts and worsens their loneliness.
If one feels they’ve been ignored, unheard or wronged, this could incite an “I’ll show ’em” attitude in which their suicide is plotted to be a form of psychological revenge.
Sadly many out there secretly hope they get help but don’t know how to ask for it. It’s up to us to seek them out and guide them to a medical professional who can listen, understand, and work with them.