As you may have heard, “vaping” or the consumption of e-cigarettes is growing immensely in popularity among teenagers and young adults.
Nearly 11 percent of high school seniors, 8 percent of 10th graders, and 3.5 percent of eighth-graders have tried e-cigarettes or frequently use e-cigarettes, according to data gathered by Yale School of Medicine. These trends are particularly alarming since cigarette use, and other forms of tobacco/nicotine consumption, has fallen among youth populations.
Even as cigarette use falls, vaping has emerged as a significant public health risk among teenagers. Parents, family members, and friends should familiarize themselves with key vaping risks to encourage better decision making and help teenagers understand the significant risks of e-cigarette use:
Nicotine is extremely unsafe for youth and teens even in an aerosol form
Many proponents of e-cigarette use argue that e-cigarettes are much safer than tobacco products since they don’t contain many tars and toxins found in cigarettes. However, frequent nicotine consumption by itself has some serious health consequences for younger people.
The CDC explains that nicotine consumption leads to stunted brain development, cognitive issues, and even behavioral/emotional complications in younger adults. In addition, nicotine can also slow down the brain’s ability to build new skills and abilities by slowing down the creation of synapses.
Even though youth and teens aren’t ingestion harmful tars or chemicals in traditional cigarettes, the nicotine alone can lead to impactful delays or damage to neurological development.
E-cigarettes also lead to other significant healthcare risks
The CDC also explained that scientists are still uncovering the potential long-term health consequences of e-cigarette use among teenagers. But the initial findings are still alarming.
E-cigarette aerosols likely contain substances that can lead to long-term lung damage and younger children may accidentally ingest e-cigarette pods and get exposed to a poison.
The U.S Surgeon General also found that some chemicals found in e-cigarette products can lead to serious lung disease.
Vaping can also create other unhealthy behaviors and lead to cigarette smoking
Probably the most significant health risks of vaping are the dramatic changes in the behavior of teenage e-cigarette users.
The Surgeon General’s breakdown of e-cigarette risks include the following behavioral patterns among teenage users:
- Increased likelihood to experiment with other drugs
- Increased likelihood to develop an addictive personality
- More likely to use tobacco products and switch from e-cigarette products
E-cigarette use can lead to dependency on other drugs and even tobacco products, which contradicts the e-cigarette industry’s main argument: vaping as a safer alternative to tobacco use.
Make sure to carefully explain any friend or family member about these healthcare risks if they are currently vaping. A supportive dialogue about vaping may help your loved one to begin a program to ultimately quit.