According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco is the most significant preventable cause of death and disease in the United States. Nicotine, a component of tobacco found in cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes, is a highly addictive substance which contributes to compulsive use, relapse after abstinence, and physical dependence. In spite of the well-documented health hazards, an estimated 17% of Americans smoke cigarettes leading to nearly a half million deaths each year.
There is a strong urge to quit among many Americans, however, with nicotine-replacement products gaining popularity each year “E-Cigarettes” are the newest anti-smoking fad, giving an alternative for those who want to beat the habit. Among current e-cigarette users aged 45 years and older in 2015, most were either current or former regular cigarette smokers, and 1.3% had never been cigarette smokers. In contrast, among current e-cigarette users aged 18–24 years, 40.0% had never been regular cigarette smokers.
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings, and other chemicals. E-cigarettes have been marketed as both a smoking cessation tool and an alternative to conventional cigarettes.
What Role Does Nicotine Play in Hair Loss?
Even though e-cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, according to the CDC, this doesn’t mean e-cigarettes are safe. E-cigarette aerosol generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than the mix of chemicals in smoke from regular cigarettes. However, e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless, and can contain potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents.
Because vaping and the use of E-Cigarettes is such a new phenomenon, studies on the effects of electronic cigarettes on hair loss are still under way, nevertheless, connections do exist. Researchers believe the nicotine content of E-Cigarettes affects the body in the same way as ordinary cigarettes and chewing tobacco; one risk being increased blood pressure.
Nicotine enters the bloodstream, constricts blood vessels, and raises the heart rate and blood pressure. This can also cause circulation issues restricting blood flow to the scalp and a decreased delivery of vital nutrients and oxygen. Your non-essential body parts (including hair) won’t receive what they need, and without oxygen, hair follicles are unable to sustain the healthy cycle needed for hair growth. As a result of worsening blood flow, hair follicles can temporarily shut down and prematurely enter the resting (‘telogen’) phase of the growth cycle. As hair generation stops, shedding will progress leading to excessive hair fall out.
What Can Be Done About Nicotine Related Hair Loss?
While smoking can cause hair loss, it may not be the only reason. With limited research available at the moment, we can only surmise about the effects of vaping and hair loss based on anecdotal data and research into how nicotine functions within the body. It is possible to treat temporary hair loss caused by smoking, as well as male pattern hair loss triggered by premature ageing brought on by the effects of smoking on the body. Furthermore, making the decision to quit smoking can drastically reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory conditions like emphysema.