Vaping, or vaporizing, was introduced in the United States in 2006 as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, including smoking altogether. While it is widely considered to be a healthy alternative, the health risks of smoking make vaping just as dangerous. In the last several years, vaping has seen a massive spike in popularity among many demographics, including teens. Here’s what you need to know before talking to your child about vaping.
What is Vaping?
The e-cigarette heats liquid contained in a compartment within the device. The ingredients used to create the vaping liquid varies by manufacturer but often include nicotine, artificial flavors, and other chemicals. Once the liquid is heated, an aerosol vapor is formed which is inhaled by the user. While many manufacturers claim to produce “nicotine-free” vapor, most liquids contain amounts of nicotine, as well as chemical flavorings that have been linked to lung diseases and fine particles from the different materials. Lead, tin, and nickel have also been found in vaping liquid. Since labels can be misleading and even the “nicotine-free” liquids contain trace amounts of the substance, the user never truly knows what has been used to create the vaping liquid. While fewer toxic chemicals are used to create vaping liquid than regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes still come with many health risks for smokers.
Who Should Be Concerned About Vaping?
The selling or distribution of smoking products, including cigarettes and electronic devices, to individuals under the age of 21 is illegal in the state of New Jersey. However, vaping among teens has been declared an epidemic by the United States Surgeon General, with over 11 percent of high school students and nearly 5 percent of middle schoolers partaking within the last year. The rise of vaping among teens is concerning due to the early age and the brain’s stage of development.
Potential Health Risks of Vaping & E-cigarettes
Since vaping has only become prevalent in the last ten years, there are not enough available studies to determine the long-term effects of ritual vaping. Previous research has revealed that many detrimental metals and carcinogens are present in vaping liquid that are not in traditional rolled cigarettes, and an additional study linked respiratory and cardiac problems with the use of vapes, but further work is needed to prove longer effects. The use of vape pens and e-cigarettes has been linked to later or continued use of regular cigarettes and similar effects on the brain and mood as nicotine addiction. Vaping can also lead to similar health issues as regular cigarettes, namely gum disease and lowered immune system. While it is widely considered to be a healthy alternative, the health risks of smoking make vaping just as dangerous. In the last several years, vaping has seen a massive spike in popularity among many demographics, including teens.
If you are concerned about your child vaping or someone in your family begins to exhibit side effects, please visit your local AFC Urgent Care Center.