While the occurrence of smoking cigarettes has gone down among teens, overall tobacco use due to teen vaping has remained steady.
Vaping refers to the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, or vapor, created by a device. A vaping device includes a mouthpiece, a battery, a heating component, and a cartridge that contains the e-liquid or e-juice. The e-liquid is a combination of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. The battery in a vaping device powers the heating component, which heats up the e-liquid (aka vape juice). As a result, the device produces water vapor. This vapor is then inhaled into their lungs.
Types of Vaping
Types of vaping devices include the following:
- E-cigarettes – resemble traditional cigarettes and are also called e-cigs, hookah pens, vape pens, or ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems)
- Advanced personal vaporizers – are also known as “mods” and can be customized by the user
- Vape pens – look like large fountain pens
No matter what device is use to deliver it, nicotine is harmful! Vaping devices typically contain nicotine as well as other chemicals that are known to damage health, including harmful chemicals that are inhaled directly into an individual’s respiratory system. In addition, vaping devices hold more nicotine than a standard cigarette; often disguised within enticing flavors.
For example, one JUUL pod contains 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine.
Effects of Teen Vaping
There are numerous short- and long-term effects of vaping, including:
- Nicotine addiction
- Shortness of breath, coughing, and fevers
- Acid reflux
- Damage to brain development
- Increased likelihood of contracting lipoid pneumonia – which occurs when fatty substances are inhaled into the lungs
What Parents Can Do
There are some steps that parents can take to help their teen avoid the perils of teen vaping.
- Look for warning signs – Unfortunately, e-cigarettes do not have an odor; making them harder to detect. But there are other signs to watch for, including bloodshot eyes, increased thirst, nosebleeds, and cough.
- Keep open communication – Avoid questions that result in yes or no answers. Use open communication to talk to your teen about vaping. What have they heard about vaping? What do they think about it? What do their friends think about vaping? Approach the conversation with compassion and curiosity as opposed to judgment or condemnation.
- Let your teen know about the dangers of teen vaping
- Be a good example – If you do not want your teen to vape, then you should not vape either. The dangers and health risk apply to adults as well as teens. Your teen will have a hard time believing that vaping is dangerous if they see you doing it.
Teen vaping is a growing epidemic that is affecting many families. Please know that you are not alone! We can help you wade through the facts, watch for warning signs, and create a safe space to start the conversation with your teen.