“Vaping,” a slang term used for e-cigarettes, are replacement devices for cigarettes that was typically presented as being a safer alternative. Unfortunately, these products are addictive and do pose health risks, yet is gaining popularity, especially among teenagers. Currently, there are more high school-aged children that vape than smoke cigarettes due to easy accessibility, a wide range of flavors, and the originally-marketed belief of safety.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is done using a device that heats a liquid into an aerosol which is then inhaled by the user. There are several device brands available in colorful devices, or ones that tend to mimic other everyday objects, such as pens and even sleek USB flash drives. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it, as well as other chemical additives. The flavors are appealing to the younger market with offerings such as tutti-fruit and mango.
Why is Vaping Dangerous?
The liquid used for vaping contains nicotine and other chemicals that may contribute to lung disease and damage overall respiratory health. Also, due to the nicotine content, it can be highly addictive. It can also be a gateway back to cigarettes as research suggests that people who vape are four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes than those who don’t. Furthermore, due to the relatively new availability of the product, it is hard to know exactly how a developing brain may be affected long term by e-cigarette vapor, especially considering there are hundreds of different liquids that may be used.
How You Can Prevent Your Child from Vaping
- Communicate: As with any issue, communication between a parent and child is paramount. Directly address the issue of vaping with your children as early as middle school, before this habit is seen with their peers. Be sure to discuss the issue in an informative way without judgment to encourage an atmosphere of open sharing.
- Educate: The surgeon general website has valuable information for parents and children regarding the use of e-cigarettes. Parents should feel free to educate their children as to the risks of vaping. Teenagers need an informed reason to avoid e-cigarette use rather than parents saying “because I said so”. Ensure you keep yourself informed, as well, on current slang terms used for vaping, as well as what the devices look like so you are able to keep a watchful eye.
- Exhibit Zero Tolerance: Make clear to your child that vaping and smoking will not be tolerated. A teenager may interpret anything less as tacit permission. It is also important to note that you are your child’s number one role model. You cannot prevent them from vaping if you are doing it yourself.
We are here to help with all your child’s healthcare needs. If you believe your child may be interested in vaping or you need assistance with other health concerns, please contact us.