Over the past several years, there has been an alarming trend in vaping among teens. More and more teens are starting to vape, and parents, school administrators, and health care officials are growing increasingly concerned.
This topic has been trending as of late because of the growing popularity of vapes around the world. Electronic cigarettes seem cleaner in use than other ways of smoking. And alongside this trend, humanity gets curious about the risks associated with vaping.
What is important, vaping as its predators include risks of an increased likelihood of becoming addicted to nicotine and drugs like marijuana, brain impairment leading to mood swings and poor memory, and several other negative health consequences.
Why Are So Many Teens Vaping?
There are many reasons why vaping is on the rise among teenagers. A lot of teens like vaping because they are attracted to the high tech look and feel of the vapes.
Devices like those made by Juul and Pax Era look like flash drives, and children who use them might think that they are on the cutting edge.
Another reason why teens like to vape is that vaping companies promote “kid-friendly” marketing campaigns meant to attract young people.
One way they do this is by having a lot of sweet flavors in their inventories. This helps to raise teens opinion of vaping.
Finally, a lot of teens do not believe vaping is harmful. In one instance, nearly a quarter of seniors in high school thought that e-liquid only contained flavoring. They did not realize that e-juice could be detrimental to their health, which will make them more susceptible to peer pressure.
Statistics about Teens Vaping
How many teens are vaping? The latest statistics regarding vaping and teens signals an alarming trend. In the past 12 months, 37 percent of 12th graders have reported that they have vaped.
Vaping is becoming popular in lower grades, too, with nearly 11 percent of 8th graders saying they have tried vaping nicotine.
How is it that so many young people can get a hold of vapes? It is likely because they are widely available to them. 45.7 percent of 8th graders and 66.6 percent of 10th graders stated that vapes are easy to get.
Risks of Teens Vaping
There are many short and long-term risks associated with teens vaping. Parents should identify these risks and make their children aware of them. Failure to do so could have severe consequences for the health of their child or children.
The Effects of Vaping on Teens
- The brain does not stop developing until the age of 25, so the use of nicotine could damage the parts of the brain that control attention span, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Another thing to consider is that nicotine can change the way synapses between brain cells are created, which can have a negative impact on your child’s memory or how they learn new skills.
- Many of the ingredients in e-cigarette vapor could cause damage to the lungs. There are particles in some e-juices called diacetyl that can cause bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lung.” Popcorn lung is a debilitating illness in the lungs that can cause frequent shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. There is no cure for this disease.
A lot of young vapers also smoke cigarettes, which is extremely unhealthy. Group of researchers determined that people who vape and smoke are five times more likely to have a heart attack than people who do not smoke or vape.
Many people believe that vaping is healthier than cigarettes because it does not have as many harmful additives.
While this may be true, e-juice still contains nicotine, which is addictive on its own. In fact, the amount of nicotine in some Juul pods can be the equivalent of 20 cigarettes.
A nicotine addiction could also result in vaping teens using tobacco. In 2018, the National Academy of Medicine reported that vaping could increase the chances of someone starting smoking.
There is no clear evidence to support the belief that vaping can cause cancer, but there are some cancer-causing chemicals and other substances found in e-juice, such as formaldehyde.
Cancer could be a possible long-term risk of teens vaping, but it will take several years, if not decades, of research to determine whether this is true.
CDC Vaping for Teens — CDC Recommendations
The CDC has several valuable pieces of advice for parents concerned about teens vaping.
- The first thing they say is that parents should be tobacco and vape free themselves. Choosing not to smoke or vape will set a good example.
- They also advise that parents speak with their children about vaping. Doing this will make it immediately clear to children that their parents do not approve of this behavior.
The CDC says that parents who know their child is vaping should seek treatment immediately.
They advise that parents should start this process by making an appointment with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Another thing they encourage parents to do is to speak with their school administrators about keeping school grounds tobacco-free.
How to Recognize a Vaping Teen
It is hard to tell if someone if vaping, but there are a few signs parents will see in teens vaping.
- The biggest thing to look for is unusually large items that look like pens or USB drives. They usually have two holes on each end, and they can use liquid-filled cartridges and atomizers.
- Parents should also look for cotton and metal coils, as these are often used to heat the e-juice.
- One of the side effects of vaping is excessive thirst and changes in taste — vaping results in dry mouth, and people who vape may consume more water than usual.
- Vaping also causes changes in people’s taste buds. People who use excessive salt or seasoning on their foods might be vaping.
- Frequent nosebleeds could be another sign that someone is vaping because it also dries out the nasal passages.
- Other common signs of vaping are unusually sweet smells coming off a person’s clothes,
- Less consumption of caffeine,
- Frequent occurrences of coughing spells, throat clearing,
- Sores in the mouth that do not heal.
How to Talk to Teens about Vaping
The best and most effective way to approach teens vaping is not to be confrontational. Calmly approach them and speak to them in a regular voice.
Do not yell at them or strike them. Doing this will put the child on the defensive and make them more confrontational. As a result, they will continue to vape and defy their parents and authority figures.
Teachers who spot a student vaping should not only speak to the student, but they should also report this behavior to the school principal and notify the parents. Failure to do so is a violation of many school policies, and ignoring vaping could result in being fired.
How do We Deal with Teens Vaping?
There are many ways to deal with teens vaping, some more effective than others. The knee jerk reaction is often moral panic and immediate demand that legislators pass laws to solve the problem.
Laws banning teens from vaping will not keep them from vaping, just as laws banning guns and drugs does not stop people from having guns and using drugs. The answer to teens and vaping is for parents, teachers, clergy, and other people in the community to become more involved in the lives of young people by being a positive influence on them.
Frequently Asked Questions about Teens Vaping
Teens vaping is a recently occurring phenomenon, so a lot of parents, school officials, and various authority figures do not know how to deal with it. Not surprisingly, these people need a lot of advice on vaping for teens.
What suggestions do we have that might help deter teens from vaping:
How to Stop Teens from Vaping
Teenagers can overcome their addictions to nicotine through willpower and assistance from supportive family and friends.
Anyone who wants to quit vaping, even a teenager, has to commit him or herself to quitting.
Doing this will be hard, especially for those who want to quit cold-turkey, but one way to achieve this goal is by setting milestones for a teen or getting him or her involved in activities that can distract them from their addiction.
Friends and family should also be there to lend a helping hand and catch them when they fall. Doing this will help to prevent a relapse.
How to Educate Teens on Vaping
The best way to educate teens about vaping is to tell them about the risks associated with it.
Some teenagers do not know that vaping could cause damage to their health, so making them aware of this fact could convince them to quit. It is also essential to tell teenagers that vaping is most likely against the rules of their school and that it might even be illegal for them to vape.
The threat of losing privileges at school or landing on the wrong side of the police might also be enough to get them to quit.
How Does Social Media Affect Teens Vaping?
Social media is a driver behind teens vaping because they see their friends and social media influencers doing it on their social networking pages.
They see it on Instagram, and they think it is cool; therefore, they should do it, too.
Parents can prevent their children from being influenced by social media by restricting their access to it ro providing special “parental control internet view” that limits surfing prohibited topics.
If they have a social media account, monitor them with respect to privacy, and if they have a smartphone or computer, monitor their browser history. A parent might also consider not allowing their child to have a smartphone or a laptop.
“Peer Counseling” Vaping Intervention for Teens
Young people can get their friends to stop vaping.
Teens often have a lot of influence on what their friends do and do not do.
Concerned that one of friends might be developing a nicotine habit? —Intervene.
One of the things anyone can do is tell their friends about the possible dangers of vaping and how it could lead to them using drugs.
One wake up call for teens vaping would be if their friends stopped associating them if they continue to vape. This might cause them to consider kicking the habit for good.
Depression and anxiety are not known to be directly caused by vaping, but vaping can exacerbate the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Many teens suffer from depression and anxiety, and some try to cope with these disorders by vaping. Teens who do this ignore the underlying problems causing their mental health problems, which could result in them getting worse over time.
Parents can help their children overcome their depression, anxiety, and addiction by talking to them to find out what is wrong. More severe cases should be referred to a qualified and licensed health care professional.
Final Thoughts about the Teens Vaping
Teens vaping is a serious concern amongst many people, but by intervening in children’s lives, we can put a stop to these destructive behaviors and vices, and decrease the risks of them developing a severe illness.
If you have experience with teens vaping, or if you are a teen who has vaped in the past or still vapes, please leave a comment below. Your experience with vaping could help others learn about the dangers of vaping for teens!