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Kids, Teens and Vaping: Should Parents Be Worried?

Vaping is the term for using an electronic cigarette or other gadget that might include nicotine and harmful substances. The fluid, which is usually flavoured, is heated by a battery, and users inhale the resulting vapour. Additionally, some teenagers inhale THC—the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana—via e-cigarettes. Teenagers who vape are not alone. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, estimates that over 2 million young people smoked e-cigarettes in 2021.

What’s inside e-cigarettes and vape pens?
2020 saw the start of a ground-breaking study by University of Colorado researchers to learn more about the chemicals found in e-cigarettes. It’s novel because, in addition to employing a robot to mimic human vaping, researchers will be examining the vapour or gas that the robot exhales after vaping, which has never been done before. The study’s principal investigator is Children’s Hospital Colorado paediatric pulmonologist Carl White, MD.

When you vape, a chemical transformation takes place. We are aware that not all of the components used in the device are considered hazardous at first. However, after you cook things, which is what occurs when you vape the materials, you’re left with a mixture of compounds that could be harmful, including formaldehyde, an aldehyde that is extremely harmful to your body and lungs.

According to Dr. White, vaping can produce up to 50 new compounds. He claims that while some have been found in earlier research, not all. It is likely that many of those that have not yet been identified are harmful, and Dr. White and his team want to identify as many as they can.

Does vaping have an addictive quality?
Teenagers frequently are unaware that the great majority of vaping goods, including e-cigarettes, contain nicotine. One JUUL cartridge has about the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, yet the most popular vaping product does not include a nicotine-free option.

Because of the way the teen brain develops, it is particularly susceptible to nicotine, and exposure can have long-lasting effects that extend into adulthood. Teenage nicotine users have reduced cognitive function, reduced attention spans, and higher levels of impulsivity, anxiety, and depression as adults. Addiction to nicotine might also raise the chance of developing other addictions later on. Vaping is definitely not advised for pregnant women.
Why do children and teenagers find vaping appealing?
Vaping firms are entering the teen market. They’ve developed tastes like cotton candy and bubblegum that are obviously meant to appeal to teenagers, and many of them have positioned themselves as safer substitutes for tobacco products. Additionally, vaping products are less expensive since they are not subject to the same taxes as traditional tobacco products.

While some vape companies have ceased, many still extensively promote on social media. Even Nevertheless, online advertising for e-cigarettes is unregulated and could have an impact on minors.

Finally, hiding a vape is far simpler than hiding a cigarette. Numerous businesses produce items with the deliberate intention of concealing their use, such as watches and even hoodies that hold vapes.

How can parents stop their children from using vaping?
Open communication is the best weapon parents can use to prevent their children from vaping. Have a conversation with your children about the risks associated with vaping, emphasising that the extent of the risks is still unknown. Make sure they are aware that the nicotine in e-cigarettes has the potential to affect their brain and behaviour in the long run. Tell them that until early adulthood, their brains are still developing. The surgeon general provides a guide on how to bring up e-cigarettes with your adolescent.

Make the most of opportunities to teach. When you witness someone vaping on the street while driving to school or a TV character vaping, you might have an opportunity to have a conversation with your child about vaping. Take advantage of these opportunities for natural conversation to flow.

Don’t forget about other individuals who might affect your child’s choices:

If you believe that your child is more likely to listen to a medical practitioner about the risks associated with vaping, schedule an appointment with your child’s physician.
Discuss the policies in place at your child’s school with the administration and instructors regarding the ban on vaping.
Discuss with other parents how they are keeping their kids from smoking e-cigarettes.
Establish boundaries for your child’s usage of social media and keep an eye on what they do online.
Finally, consider the steps you can take. Set a positive example by abstaining from smoking and vaping. It’s never too late to give up vaping, and if you set an example for your kids to follow, they will be more inclined to listen to you. Take up the cause and let your legislators know that you are in favour of laws that restrict the availability of vaping products to minors.
While investigations into the long-term consequences of vaping are still ongoing, one thing is certain: vaping is not safe.

If the issues outlined in this article are affecting you, please do not hesitate to contact us, and we will do what we can to help you with your situation.