E-cigarettes and VAPING
In 2018 the Surgeon General of the United States of American, along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) called youth vaping a national epidemic, due to the 78% increase in youth vaping from 2017 to 2018. JUUL, currently the most popular e-cigarette used by teens, is 35% owned by Philip Morris (think Marlboro) and what some public health experts believe is responsible for addicting an entirely new generation to nicotine.
What can we do to combat this epidemic?
Educate yourself and your children. Learn about vaping; what it is, and the different devices that may be used. Essentia Health has recently partnered with local High Schools, the American Lung Association and Public Health to provide education and resources about vaping. For more information and resources visit the following:
- Essentia Health “Don’t Blow it: Anti-Vaping Campaign”
- The Centers for Disease Control “Electronic Cigarettes” Fact Page
- Mayo Clinic Electronic Cigarette Fact Page
KEEP KIDS E-CIGARETTE FREE
Have you seen your kid’s USB flash drive lately? It could actually be an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) containing nicotine. E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students. As parents prepare to send their kids back to school, take time to learn more about the dangers of using e-cigarettes or “vaping”.
What Are E-cigarettes?
- E-cigarettes are electronic devices that produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs.
- E-cigarette devices can also be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.
- E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes.
Why Are E-cigarettes Unsafe?
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain. The brain keeps developing until about age 25.
- Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.
- Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
What Are Some Other Risks of E-cigarettes?
- Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes.
- Some of the ingredients in e-cigarettes could also be harmful to the lungs in the long-term. For example, some e-cigarette flavorings may be safe to eat but not to inhale because the gut can process more substances than the lungs.
- Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions, some 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.
What You Can Do?
Start by learning and talking to your kids about the dangers of e-cigarettes. Get CDC’s Talk With Your Teen About E-cigarettes tip sheet for parents. Educate them about the harm that nicotine can do to their developing brain. Let them know that you stand strong against them using any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, now or in the future.
- Set up an appointment with your child’s health care provider so that they can hear from a medical professional about the health risks of e-cigarettes.
- Speak with your child’s teacher and school administrator about enforcement of tobacco-free school grounds policies and tobacco prevention curriculum that include all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
- Encourage your child to learn the facts and get tips for quitting tobacco products at Teen.smokefree.gov.
View this CDC handout on youth e-Cigarette use.
Thank you for your commitment to preventing and combating a new generation of addiction!