What is Teen Vaping?
What is teen vaping?
According to the Child Mind Institute, vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by the heated nicotine liquid (or “juice”) of an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette or e-cig), vape pen, or personal vaporizer. It is also more commonly known as JUULing, which comes from JUUL, a popular vape device available in different flavors, looks like a flash drive, and can be charged in a USB port. JUUL delivers high levels of nicotine, making the product extremely addictive.
Why has teen vaping become popular?
According to Dr. Sarper Taskiran of the Child Mind Institute, some teens hear that vaping is not as bad for their health as smoking cigarettes, and many think there is no harm. Packaging can be perceived as misleading by advertising only 5 percent nicotine, and leading consumers to think the other 95 percent is water weight or vapor.
According to Dr. Nora D. Volkow of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices. However, it is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health, the development of the teen brain, and the potential for addiction.”
Why is teen vaping harmful, especially for adolescents?
Studies have shown that teens who vape are much more likely to start smoking cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the following reasons on why e-cigarettes and nicotine are unsafe for kids, teens and young adults:
- A recent CDC study found that 99 percent of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the U.S. contained nicotine.
- Some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine. Some e-cigarettes marketed as containing 0 percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.
- Nicotine harms the parts of the developing adolescent brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections (synapses) are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.
- Nicotine use in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
The CDC included these other risks as well:
- Some of the ingredients in e-cigarette aerosol could be harmful to the lungs in the long-term.
- Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused some fires and explosions, a few of which have resulted in serious injuries.
- Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes. Nationally, approximately 50 percent of calls to poison control centers for e-cigarettes are for children 5 years of age or younger.
The Child Mind Institute also included these other risks:
- Vaping increases heart rate and blood pressure, and can increase circulatory problems.
- According to the JUUL website, the nicotine content of one JUUL is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes. Because of these high nicotine levels, vaping is extremely addictive. Teens are already more susceptible to addiction than adults because their brains are still developing, which makes them more likely to try using drugs and alcohol.
- Vaping causes lung irritation similar to that seen in smokers and people with lung disease and causes damage to vital immune system cells.
- There have been several deaths and hundreds of cases of lung illness attributed to vaping. Right now, it is unclear if the cause is bootleg cartridges containing THC or CBD oil or legal nicotine cartridges. The CDC and the American Medical Association are recommending that people avoid vaping entirely while this is being investigated.
Teen vaping statistics
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Regulations at the federal level
According to the CDC, in August 2016, the regulatory authority of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) was extended to cover e-cigarettes through the agency’s “deeming rule,” which is as follows:
“Through authority granted by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA), the FDA has authority to develop regulations that address the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of e-cigarettes. However, the FSPTCA does not prevent states and communities from adopting many strategies related to e-cigarettes. There are also many strategies that FDA does not have authority to implement and that states can do, such as including e-cigarettes in smoke-free policies, pricing strategies, and increasing the age of sale for tobacco products to 21.”
Teen vaping laws per state
According to the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, each state has its own e-cigarette regulations in the following areas: definition of “tobacco product,” taxation, product packaging, youth access/other retail restrictions, licensure, and smoke-free air legislation. Making sure that you know what your state’s laws are is crucial to having a successful conversation with your child.
How to talk to your child about vaping
Here are tips for talking with your teen about e-cigarettes, according to the U.S. Surgeon General:
- Before talking to your teen, know the facts. Get credible information about e-cigarettes and young people.
- Be patient and ready to listen. Avoid criticism, and encourage an open dialogue. Remember your goal is to have a conversation, not deliver a lecture. It’s okay for your conversation to take place over time, in bits and pieces.
- Set a positive example by being tobacco-free. If you use tobacco, it’s never too late to quit. For free help, visit smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Start the conversation by finding the right moment. A more natural discussion increases the likelihood that your teen will listen. Rather than saying, “We need to talk,” you might ask your teen what he or she thinks about a situation you witness together, such as seeing someone use an e-cigarette in person or in a video; passing an e-cigarette shop when you are walking or driving; or seeing an e-cigarette advertisement in a store or magazine or on the internet.
- Ask for support. Not sure where to begin? Ask your health care provider to talk to your teen about the risks of e-cigarettes. You might also suggest that your teen talk with other trusted adults, such as relatives, teachers, faith leaders, coaches, or counselors whom you know are aware of the risks of e-cigarettes. These supportive adults can help reinforce your message as a parent.
- Answer their questions.
- Keep the conversation going.
How Just Say YES programs address teen vaping and substance abuse
Many of our Just Say YES school assembly programs cover the topics of drug, alcohol and substance abuse. They not only present the dangerous facts to students, but also educate them on how to make the right choices by listening to right voices. Our positive approach to prevention equips students with the inspiration and confidence they need in order to achieve greater success, without the damaging effects of drugs, tobacco, alcohol and/or other substances. Just Say YES Speakers have an incredible gift of meeting student’s right where they are in life. The speakers share their unique personal stories of achieving success by overcoming adversity (e.g. drugs, abusive families, homelessness and poverty), and can cover any topic specific to a school’s needs.