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5 Things to Know About Vaping

5 Things to Know About Vaping

Almost overnight, the craze for vaping has swept across the United States. Teens in countless schools are coming across the substance daily.

The statistics may be more alarming than parents realize. In 2017 alone, 2.1 million middle and high school students were using e-cigarettes. Additionally, 10.7 million students had tried or were willing to try them (Surgeon General).

What started out as a tool for people to use to stop smoking has turned into a fad for high school students. The scary part is that most teenagers, and many of their parents, don’t know what goes into a vape.

As the use of e-cigarettes continues to spread, it’s important to stay on top of the facts about vaping.

To help you get started, we answered a list of five questions about the e-cigarette craze

  1. What is a vape?

A vape is also commonly referred to as e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens or tank systems. Vapes are battery-powered devices. They work by heating a liquid that is oftentimes flavored. The user inhales the vapor into their lungs and then exhales the remaining materials. (The Truth Initiative)

  1. Is there anything in vapes other than flavoring?

This is perhaps one of the most common misconceptions of what a vape is. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 66% of teenagers believed that flavoring was all that was in their vape pen. However, many of the e-cigarette products on the shelves do contain nicotine. The CDC released in the American Journal of Public Health that an estimated 99% of e-cigarettes sold in 2015 contained nicotine. But, even if they didn’t, other chemicals in the devices can be just as toxic.

According to a study conducted by UC San Francisco, e-cigarette vapor contains many of the same harmful chemicals found in normal cigarettes. Some of them, such as acrylonitrile, propylene oxide and acrylamide can cause cancer.

Another study done by a team at Rochester University in New York found that the flavors are also harmful. Many of the flavors they tested harmed white blood cells. Flavors found in e-cigarettes damaged or even killed the white blood cells they encountered.

  1. What are some of the long-term consequences for using e-cigarettes?

In addition to inhaling some potentially cancer-causing chemicals, vapes also open teens up for addiction. Teen e-cigarette users are more likely to begin smoking actual cigarettes and other tobacco products (NIDA).

This can open teens up for a lifetime full of addiction and serious health consequences. Individuals who smoke are more likely to suffer a stroke. They’re also more likely develop cancer almost anywhere in the body and heart disease.

According to the NIAA, people addicted to cigarettes are 4 times more likely to become addicted to alcohol. This makes vaping the potential starting gate for a slippery slope of addiction for teens.

  1. What is a JUUL?

A JUUL is a kind of e-cigarette that works in much of the same way traditional vapes work. The device heats up to vaporize a liquid that is inhaled by the user. The catch for the JUUL is its size and the design. While some e-cigarettes, like vape pens, can be easy to spot, the JUUL isn’t. The design of the JUUL makes it look almost identical to a flash drive. Additionally, the small size makes it easier to hide on school grounds, on keychains, and in bags.

  1. Is JUUL less dangerous than other e-cigarettes?

No. The Truth Initiative clarifies that one JUUL cartridge provides the same amount of nicotine found in a pack of cigarettes. JUUL products are extremely addictive. These products open up a whole new arena when it comes to getting teens addicted to nicotine and cigarettes.

The best way parents can keep their keeps safe from the e-cigarette industry is by making sure that they are informed. Talk with your teen and let them know that vaping isn’t at all safer than smoking and has serious consequences.

Make this an ongoing conversation in your home. Ask your teen if they know anyone who vapes or why they think more and more teens are trying e-cigarettes. Help your teen process what they would do if a friend offered them their JUUL or e-cig and establish what your expectations are regarding their use.

Your voice is extremely important when it comes to the decisions that your teen makes. Give them all the facts, keep the conversation open and stay active in their lives. Help your teen turn down this popular, yet dangerous, device.

Kaitlyn Inman