The Low Down on Vaping and Your Kids
by Jeff Rogers
The Food and Drug Administration lists “vaping” as one of several electronic nicotine delivery systems, including e-cigarettes, e-pipes, hookah pens, and vape pens, and is in the process of regulating the new addition to the smoking world.
The American Lung Association is concerned that vaping will be the next “gateway” to smoking cigarettes and marijuana. 6% of all vaporizers currently on the market contain nicotine. And even less contain THC, the key ingredient in marijuana.
Monitoring the Future, an assessment team out of the University of Michigan that keeps tabs on teen substance abuse in America, says to hold our horses, that little is yet known about the long-term effects of vaping.
Teen participation in vaping is spreading like wildfire. While the incidence of cigarette smoking among teens is down from previous years, because of the use of vaporizers, overall teen smoking is way up.
Stats on Teenage Vaping
According to Monitoring the Future, in 2011, 2% of all teens said they vaped. By 2015, 16% claimed they had done so. Approximately 13% of all middle schoolers, and 20% of all high schoolers currently vape. In terms of actual numbers, 2.46 million teens vaped, and by 2015, more than 3 million teens say they do.
Many teens surveyed said they vape because they say it is a harmless alternative to smoking, and they like the sweet flavors, like candy, fruit, and ice cream. Vaporizers heat up small quantities of liquid or oil until they produce an inhalable vapor, that teens fill their lungs and air passages with.
Doctors say that while inhaling vaporized liquid into your lungs is better than hot smoke, the long-term effects of doing so are still unknown. What is known is that the one ingredient common to all vaporizers is “diacetyl,” which was long ago linked to respiratory disease. Vaping can irritate the lungs, and make asthma worse.
Even the Vaping Guru of MigVapor says parents should be concerned. We don’t really know what’s coming down the road with regard to the effects of inhaling flavored vapors into our lungs. For now, it’s better in many respects than smoking cigarettes, but parents should not turn a blind eye to their teens who are choosing to vape instead.
The effects of secondhand vapors is a concern for many. It is recommended to be careful when vaping in public to not offend, and most definitely to not vape around infants until more is known.
Vaping Gurus Say Caution
The Vaping Guru says for parents to watch for the following 7 signs that your teen is vaping:
- Brief instances of a sweet aroma in the air, not from any cigarette, cigar or pipe product.
- The presence of a shiny handheld gadget, with holes in each end of the device.
- Increased thirstiness of your teen.
- Sensitivity to caffeine, and a decrease in use of caffeine products.
- Higher than usual use of and charging of batteries.
- The presence of metallic wires and cotton wicks.
- The presence of discarded atomizers in the house trash.
If you suspect your teen is vaping, the Vaping Guru also suggests you take charge of the situation, but don’t panic. Talk to your teen about it openly, and not in an accusatory manner. Look up and talk about the pros and cons of vaping. Be blunt about what may or may not be in the flavored liquid or oil, and the known effects of those ingredients.
Shared knowledge and understanding will go a lot further toward possible use discontinuation or use modification than threatening and judging.