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The Truth About Vaping

Read this article to learn more about vaping so that you can better prepare your teen (and yourself) for these challenges

What is vaping?

Let’s start with some facts about Vaping. Vaping is very common among teens and young adults.  E-cigarettes have been around a long time but have recently become known as vapes.  A “vape” is an electronic cigarette or e-cigarette.  Vapes come in different forms including vape pens, mods, and JUHL pods.

How did vaping get so popular?

E-cigs or vapes are now the most commonly used tobacco products among youth, according to the Center on Disease Control.  The U.S. surgeon general reported, in 2015, that e-cigarette or vape use among high school students had increased by 900 percent.  In addition, according to the U.S. surgeon general, 40 percent of young e-cigarette users had never smoked regular tobacco.

Here are some of the reasons why e-cigs are so popular with young people:

  • It is incorrectly considered to be not dangerous because it is not a traditional cigarette. 
  • E-cigarettes are less expensive than traditional cigarettes.
  • E-cigarettes don’t have to be lit which makes them easier to handle as well as more discrete.  Teens are even able to vape at school or other public places without being busted.
  • Because e-cigs don’t have a smell like cigarettes, it can be harder for parents to know a child is using this form of tobacco.
  • Vape liquid comes in really fun flavors such as apple pie and bubble gum.  Belief that it is healthier than smoking.

Why is vaping dangerous?

There are multiple reasons why vaping poses a threat to health.  Two of the biggest concerns are that vaping is that young people who wouldn’t have smoked actual cigarettes will start using nicotine and will be more likely to use traditional tobacco products later on.

Several other concerns for vaping:

  • E-cigs contain nicotine which is a very powerful habit-forming drug.  Nicotine causes cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Nicotine raises blood pressure and adrenaline which increases heart rate and risk of having a heart attack.
  • A study from 2013 suggested that either inhaling nicotine in a conventional cigarette or e-cigs may contribute to heart disease.
  • Vaping includes dangerous chemicals including formaldehyde which is linked to cancer, lead which is a neurotoxin, and silicate particles which are linked to lung disease. 

Is inhaling second-hand vape smoke harmful?

Inhaling second-hand vape from e-cigarettes or vaping devices does pose a risk to health because it contains nicotine.  Research has shown that vaping worsened indoor air quality by increasing the nicotine and potentially harmful chemicals in the air.  Second hand vape contains nicotine, particulate matter, PAHs and aluminum which are compounds that have been linked to lung and cardiovascular disease and cancer.

How do I know if my child is vaping?

Teens who are vaping may be more active and energetic and may even have difficulty sleeping. Some individual who vape might also have a cough and complain of shortness of breath.   Vaping doesn’t leave a distinctive odor on clothing like smoking traditional cigarettes so it can br harder for parents to detect.

How to Talk to Your Teen about Vaping

Successfully talking to your child about vaping and other drug use begins with empathy for your child.  Teens today have a lot of pressure to fit in and belong.  It is part of young people creating their own identity, separate from that of their parents, which is a necessary part of development.  Teens have to start separating themselves from their parents in order to fly away and create their own lives.  However, this need combined with pressure to fit in with their peer group can lead to making choices that can put their health and safety at risk.

After you try to understand where you child is at, have a kind but frank discussion about the risks of vaping.  Listen to your child without judgement or correction.  Offer some assistance without forcing it upon him or her.  

Most importantly, show your child unlimited and unconditional acceptance and love for your child (and yourself).  This doesn’t mean that you accept all of his or her choices, but you do love your child regardless.  Down the road, this will make it easier for your child to come to you with mistakes he or she experiences as is part of growing up. 

References

https://www.centeronaddiction.org/e-cigarettes/recreational-vaping/what-parents-should-know-about-different-vaping-devices

https://www.unitypoint.org/article.aspx?id=db4207f1-3030-4be1-806b-79ced220ee58

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/e-cigs-and-second-hand-vaping/

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