Easily recognized as one of the most popular substance use trends among teens, vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling an aerosol, often referred to as vapor, produced by an e-cigarette, vape pen, or similar device. These devices contain flavored e-liquids, nicotine and/or marijuana.
Although initially created to help existing smokers quit, enticing flavors such as mango, mint and tutti frutti have attracted young people and non-smokers to the products. Vaping’s popularity has by far eclipsed that of smoking cigarettes among today’s adolescents.
But, it’s important to know that vaping is not safe. Thousands of illnesses and even several dozen deaths have been linked to vaping. For the sake of their health, teens and parents alike should be educated about vaping and its potential for harm.
According to the CDC’s National Youth Tobacco Survey, 1 in 5 high school students reported vaping in the past month. With ample advertising geared toward teens and young adults, the availability of brightly colored vape pens and thousands of flavors to choose from, the expectation is that growth will continue. To help counter-balance the manipulative and deceptive messages and misinformation being directed at teens, parents should be prepared to answer the big questions their kids may have about vaping.
Vaping is serious and worthy of concern. Just about all vaping products contain nicotine, a highly addictive drug, and the negative health effects are broad and can be serious. The vast majority of people with nicotine addiction started using a nicotine product before age 21.
Despite this, a recent survey of parents of middle and high school students found that 40% said that they were not at all concerned about their own child’s use of vaping products. If you believe your child may try vaping, has tried vaping or is vaping regularly, it is definitely an issue worth addressing.