Teen Vaping…An Epidemic?

By Christy Lenahan - Macaroni Kid Health Hack Contributor February 26, 2019

Is teen vaping an epidemic? It definitely seems to be the current case. In 2017, 2.1 million

middle and high school students admitted to being “e-cigarette” users. So what exactly is vaping?

Vaping is inhaling a liquid (often containing nicotine) and exhaling the aerosol or “vapor.” Unlike

traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes can put off a pleasant, fruity smell or may even be odorless. And, it’s

pretty easy to conceal as some vaping products resemble a simple jump drive.

Vaping is often referred to as JUULing, after a popular e-cigarette brand. Despite its seemingly

harmless odor, vaping or JUULing has significant risks. Most e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine

and can be extremely addictive. For instance, the nicotine content of one JUULpod (which is advertised

as lasting for 200 puffs) is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes. Additionally, recent studies have found

increased levels of toxic, cancer causing chemicals. These inhaled chemicals also result in lung irritation,

similar to the lung irritation seen in smokers of regular cigarettes. Moreover, vaping has been shown to

increase heartrate and blood pressure.

As a parent, this trend and its associated risks are extremely worrisome. Talk to your kids! Ask

them what they know, what they’ve seen, how they feel. You will be surprised at what you might here,

but open communication is key. Once you have a dialogue going…talk to him or her about the risks of

vaping. Let them know that these are just a few of the known risks. We still don’t know what the long

term risks are, but I would venture to guess they are pretty significant. An open, honest conversation

with your child will go a long way…even if it seems like the ignore everything you say. In the long run,

your voice is the conscience in the back of their head!

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