E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine, flavorings and other ingredients to the user. The use of e-cigarettes is also known as vaping.
Contrary to what users say, e-cigarettes do not create harmless water vapor. They create an aerosol that can contain harmful chemicals.
“Vaping, or smoking e-cigarettes is trending among teens,” said Erica Laber, pediatrician at TMCOne. “Nicotine usage during adolescence can harm brain development and impact learning, so it’s important to talk to your children early and often about the dangers of vaping and smoking.”
Not to freak you out, but this is something parents need to know
One of the most popular e-cigarettes out there is JUUL, pronounced “jewel,” and looks like a USB flash drive. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod (nicotine liquid refills) can contain as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. The pods also come in flavors appealing to young people, such as fruit medley, mango and mint.
Other e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, pipes or items commonly used by youth such as pens.
How popular are they?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. youth since 2014. In 2018, CDC and FDA data showed that more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students, had used e-cigarettes.
What are the risks?
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can harm brain development, impact learning, memory and attention, and increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs.
E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. It can contain nicotine, cancer-causing chemicals, ultrafine particles, flavorings that have been linked to lung disease, heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead, and volatile organic compounds.
How do I talk to my kids about this?
Know your facts. Stay familiar with vape devices, what is being vaped and the risks associated with it.
Take advantages of opportunities when they present themselves: Letters from school, advertisements, walking by someone who is vaping or passing a smoke shop.
Be ready to listen, rather than lecture.
Use open-ended questions such as “what do you think of vaping” to get the conversation going.
Express understanding of the risks along with why you don’t want your child vaping. If you set consequences, follow through and reinforce healthier choices.
Talk to your family doctor about nicotine use and how to quit. Need a doctor? Find one here.