Although e-cigarettes, or vaping products, were introduced into the U.S. market as a healthier alternative to smoking for adults, they have become extremely popular among young people. Adolescent vaping has been declared an epidemic in our country: between 2017 and 2018, there was a 78% rise in e-cigarette use by high school students. Here are five things you should know about the risks associated with teen vaping.
1. Vaping is not a safer alternative to smoking.
Vaping products have not yet gone through a government health and safety review, meaning that all products on the market are currently unregulated. Current research is showing that vaping damages the lungs, as well as causes a variety of related health risks.
2. Vapes are filled with harmful ingredients.
Vaping products include ingredients like benzene, which is found in car exhaust, and poisonous metals like nickel, tin and lead. They also contain ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Vape flavorings have been linked to serious lung disease.
3. Teens who vape are 4x more likely to go on to smoke cigarettes than those who don’t.
Early nicotine use makes adolescents more sensitive to other drugs in the future, including traditional cigarettes, which exposes them to all of the additional health risks associated with smoking cigarettes.
4. A single Juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes.
Adolescents are uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting harms of nicotine, which can change the way synapses are formed, harming the parts of the brain that control attention and learning. More nicotine per product only increases these harmful effects.
5. Brains continue to develop until a person is in their 20s.
Adolescent nicotine use can:
- Increase the risk of substance misuse and addiction,
- Increase mood disorders, and
- Permanently lower impulse control.
To download tips for parents or a classroom activity for teachers, visit: https://www.addictionpolicy.org/vaping.