A new smoking trend has emerged among our youth and young adults called vaping.
Vaping/E-cigarettes are not safe for youth or young adults.
What is vaping:
Vaping is the inhaling of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or another vaping device. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that have cartridges filled with a liquid that contains harmful substances.
Why is vaping dangerous:
E-cigarettes can contain harmful or potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals (e.g., lead), volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing chemicals. Some e-cigarette products are used to deliver illicit substances such as THC (the chemical found in marijuana that produces the “high”). These substances are mixed with solvents that dissolve and deliver the drugs. The solvents, or oils, heat up during aerosolization to become vapor. But some oil droplets may be leftover as the liquid cools back down, and inhaling those drops may cause breathing problems and lung inflammation.
How to identify E-cigarettes and vape pens:
E-cigarette devices resemble other tobacco products such as cigarettes; some resemble ordinary household items such as USB flash drives, pens, and flashlights.
In the news:
Mysterious and life-threatening vaping-related illnesses are on the rise among teenagers and young adults. As of September 6, 2019, over 450 cases of lung illnesses and five deaths have been reported from 33 states and 1 US territory. Patients have experienced respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain), and some have also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) or non-specific constitutional symptoms (fatigue, fever, or weight loss). Symptoms typically develop over a period of days but sometimes can manifest over several weeks (CDC, 2019).
Why is this happening:
This surge in vaping illnesses coincides with the start of the school year at a time when vape pens and e-cigarettes are easy to distribute and conceal. The ability to disguise these products makes it easier for students to purchase and use the products without the knowledge of parents, teachers, and coaches. The ease of use, coupled with lack of knowledge of possible health effects, places our teenagers and young adults at risk for addiction, poor brain development or cognitive function (decreased memory or impaired concentration), and now, possible lung damage, respiratory distress, and even death.
How can you help:
Everyone has a part to play in educating themselves about e-cigarettes. Parents and teachers can start by educating their children and students about the effects of vaping. Young people are also more likely to pay attention if the adults in their lives who they trust and respect are willing to talk. It’s important to give students who do use e-cigarettes and want to stop the support and resources they need to quit. Below is a list of resources to help teens, young adults, teachers, and other adults understand the effects of e-cigarettes and how to address this increasing health issue.
Become a smoke-free teen. Retrieved from: https://teen.smokefree.gov/
Electronic Cigarettes: Get the facts about electronic cigarettes, their health effects and the risks of using e-cigarettes (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e- cigarettes/index.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fe- cigarettes%2Findex.html
Kaplan, Sheila and Richtel, Matt (2019). The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic’. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/31/health/vaping- marijuana-ecigarettes-sickness.html
Outbreak of Lung Illness Associated with Using E-Cigarrette products. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html
Talk with your teen about E-cigarettes: A tip sheet for parents. Retrieved from: https://e- cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/SGR_ECig_ParentTipSheet_508.pdf
This is quitting: A mobile app to help youth quit using E-cigarettes. Retrieved from: https://www.thetruth.com/articles/hot-topic/quit-vaping
Vaping: What you need to know (2019). Retrieved from: https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/e- cigarettes.html?ref=search