10 Jun The Truth About Vaping
How Dangerous Are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigs, or electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings, and other chemicals. They often look like traditional tobacco cigarettes (cig-a-likes), cigars, or pipes, or even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks, according to National Institute of Drug Abuse.
These e-cigs, or ‘vaping’, as it’s commonly called, has skyrocketed among teenagers.
According to the FDA, there were 3.62 million middle and high school students in 2018 who used e-cigarettes. A Yale Medicine study found that e-cigarette use, from 2017 to 2018, increased 78 percent among high school students (11.7% to 20.8%) and 48 percent among middle school students (3.3% to 4.9%). And another disturbing finding was that young people think vaping is ‘mostly harmless’.
E-cigarettes typically have nicotine, an ingredient in regular cigarettes. But, instead of the usual cigarette smoke, the vapor in the e-cigarette is flavored, often a popular fruit one. Users don’t see clouds of smoke when they vape, so they mistakenly believe it isn’t harmful. Nicotine is an addictive substance and is harmful to teen brain development, according to the CDC.
E-cigs were originally created to be a safe alternative to smoking however, the CDC says e-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or anyone who isn’t using a tobacco product. Additionally, the CDC found that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
Tips to Prevent Your Child from Using E-cigarettes
- Set a good example by being tobacco-free. If you use tobacco, it’s never too late to quit. For free help, visit smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Talk to your child or teen about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them.
- Get the Talk With Your Teen About E-cigarettes [PDF] tip sheet. Start the conversation early with children about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them.
- Let your child know that you want them to stay away from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, because they are not safe.
- 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 tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
- Speak with your child’s teacher and school administrator about enforcement of tobacco-free school grounds policies and tobacco prevention curriculum.
- Encourage your child to learn the facts and get tips for quitting tobacco products at Teen.smokefree.gov.
(Adapted from the CDC)