The use of vaping devices by teens is a trend alarming parents, teachers and administrators.
- Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings, and other chemicals. In many e-cigarettes, puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge or reservoir. The person then inhales the resulting aerosol or vapor (called vaping).
- E-cigarettes are popular among teens. Under U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations designed to protect the health of young Americans, minors can no longer buy e-cigarettes in stores or online.
- Research so far suggests that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes when people who regularly smoke switch to them as a complete replacement. But e-cigarettes can still damage a person’s health.
- E-cigarettes can lead to nicotine addiction and increased risk for addiction to other drugs.
- Nicotine stimulates the adrenal glands to release the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) and increases the levels of a chemical messenger in the brain called dopamine. The activity of dopamine in the brain’s reward system motivates some people to use nicotine again and again, despite possible risks to their health and well-being.
- E-cigarette use also exposes the lungs to a variety of chemicals, including those added to e-liquids, and other chemicals produced during the heating/vaporizing process.
Talking to your teens about vaping is the best way to protect their health.
But before you begin, it is important to have credible information about vaping, vaping products and their health impacts. There are many resources available to help you have a productive conversation.
Dr. Richard Stumacher of Northern Westchester Hospital gave a fact-filled presentation on January 18th. Here is a link to Dr. Stumacher’s Vaping Presentation; the video of the evening will be posted shortly.
For starters, here is a tip sheet on talking to your children about e-cigarettes from the CDC: SGR_ECig_ParentTipSheet_508.
Some articles to help you prepare for your conversation:
Vaping devices have come a long way since first generation e-cigarettes.
Do you know the difference between an e-cigarette and a hookah? Have you heard teens talking about “juuls” or “juuling”? Did you know that “vape mod” devices using “e-juice” (which comes in varying concentrations of nicotine) are also popular? And that these devices allow for other types of material, such as marijuana or THC oil or wax, to be vaped?
Reading this vaping primer prepared by Vaping Daily will arm you with this information and help you understand how vaping businesses are marketing their products.
As vaping technology continues to evolve, science is struggling to keep up with current information about the health impacts of vaping. But it is clear that vaping is not without health risks and well known that nicotine is highly addictive and toxic if taken in large amounts.