Vaping and Teens

vaping-teenWhat is Vaping?

Electronic cigarettes are all the rage with teenagers nowadays. Essentially, e-cigs are devices that heat up a liquid to boiling so that you can ingest the vapor produced by them. The liquid comes in a variety of flavors, from chocolate to bubble gum. Since vaping gives off no smoke, you would not be able to tell if your teen is doing it.

Is Vaping Dangerous?

A lot of people, including teens, think that e-cigs are a healthy alternative to standard cigarettes. While electronic cigarettes deliver nicotine, they don’t have the tar and other components of standard cigarettes. The problem with electronic cigarettes is that there is currently very little research that shows the short-term and long-term effects of their use. For this reason, it is wise to stay away from e-cigs unless you are on a plan to use them to quit smoking. They can be used to quit smoking because you can slowly decrease the amount of nicotine that you are using.

The “Vape Culture”

Lately, a culture has been developing around the use of electronic cigarettes in teen populations. Kids get together to vape and do what they consider to be “fun tricks” with e-cig smoke. These videos can be seen all over the internet and social media. Teens feel that there is no problem using the device because there has been no research that specifically shows that vaping is harmful.

Vaping as a Gateway to Smoking

While there is little research concerning the potential harm of e-cigs, research has been done that shows that people who use them are likely to start using regular cigarettes. There are various theories about why people tend to graduate to regular cigarettes. One theory is that e-cigs deliver nicotine slower than regular cigarettes. Also, it has been noted that electronic cigarettes can be advertised on television. Traditional cigarettes have been banned from TV advertising for more than 40 years now.

Vaping as a Gateway to Drug Use

The New England Journal of Medicine has done research that suggests that vaping may be a precursor to drug use. There are two issues in this regard: First, people who regularly vape may become tolerant to the effects of the nicotine that they ingest. When tolerance increases, they must pursue something with a greater kick to it. Second, nicotine enhances the effects of cocaine. This can facilitate addiction to cocaine. This research has been done on animal subjects, but it is theorized that the same effects occur in humans.Outside of the problems with vaping being a gateway behavior, some doctors are saying that even nicotine use can be harmful for the developing teen brain. Vaping is becoming more and more popular among teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control, e-cig use has undergone an increase of three times what it was before 2014. This increase is partially due to the fact that it is much easier to purchase electronic cigarettes than traditional ones. So far, the Food and Drug Administration has not tightened access to e-cigs. There are even 10 states that do not regulate the devices at all. 

Parents and Vaping Teens

So, how can parents fight this increase of teens vaping behavior? The only way that parents can combat this behavior in their children is to make their teen understand that nicotine is a drug like any other. Since that is so, it has effects on the body that may be unpredictable and addiction can result. Parents who see an increase in risky behaviors in their children have no choice but to try to show them the potential consequences for them. It is wise to make a preemptive strike against these behaviors because you may never know that your child is vaping. There is no smell and its effects are not severe enough to necessarily be noticeable.It is important to let your teen know that safe behavior takes into consideration that an unknown substance may have effects on the body that are unpredictable. Both parties need to be informed about the dangers that might occur when vaping. At least this way, your child can make an informed decision base on evidence and research.

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db217.pdf http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2015/p0416-e-cigarette-use.html http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/dual-tobacco-use.htmlSaveSaveSave

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