Many people thought that vaping, also known as e-cigarettes, would be the safest thing since sliced bread. Well, we know that sliced bread isn’t always so healthy, and neither is vaping. Your teen will likely try to convince you that vaping is the healthiest thing he or she can ingest, after all, “It’s better than cigarettes.”
Vaping became quite appealing to teens (and even younger kids) between 2012 and 2016, when the concept was mass introduced for a number of reasons, which mostly still hold true today:
- Vaping does not smell and can be sneaked in school and at home.
- Vaping juice is flavorful, and though fruity flavors are not easily accessible anymore, there are plenty of others to buy, including menthol, but every state has its banning laws.
- Carrying a vape is viewed as a status device among some teens.
We will take a look at these and other myths and realities we’ve come to learn about vaping. Arm yourself with these five myths and facts next time you have a conversation with your teen about vaping.
Myth: I’m not inhaling nicotine when I’m vaping.
Fact: Both cigarettes and vapes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive, causing you to crave more and more of it and suffer withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have enough in your system. Nicotine, a toxic substance, causes spikes in your blood pressure, increases your heart rate which is never healthy even at a young age. In addition, there are also extra-strength vape cartridges that have higher concentrations of nicotine.
Myth: I can stop vaping any time I want.
Fact: Because vaping increases your craving for nicotine, it’s just as difficult to stop vaping as it is to stop smoking cigarettes. When you don’t have enough nicotine in your system, you will have:
- Depressed, angry feelings
- Excessive hunger
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Trouble sleeping
Myth: Vaping is healthier than cigarettes.
Fact: Unfortunately, that myth was perpetuated by marketing companies and campaigns trying to sell the vaping concept to adults who wanted to quit smoking cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved vaping devices as smoking cessation tools. Studies show that many people smoke both vapes and traditional cigarettes.
Myth: All I’m inhaling is harmless water vapor when I vape.
Fact: The water vapor is not as harmless as once thought. The vapor is an aerosol that contains chemicals such as formaldehyde and acrolein (a nasal irritant). You can’t smell these toxins, however. These chemicals will damage, inflame, and irritate lungs; however, the long-term consequences of vaping are still unknown.
Myth: I’m young and healthy so even if I vape, COVID-19 can’t harm my lungs.
Fact: According to important recent studies, vaping is now linked to COVID-19 risk in teens and young adults. Many patients who vape are at a higher risk of getting and suffering through severe symptoms of COVID-19 due to weakened lungs and immune systems. A study published in August 2020 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, has found that regardless of age, vapers are five to seven times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than non-vapers.
In addition to damaged lungs, if a smoker has COVID-19 and vapes, they could be spreading the virus. The virus may spread through the secondhand aerosol that’s blown out of a smoker’s mouth during vaping.
Luckily, there are new laws and regulations going into effect right now surrounding vaping, though it won’t completely stop your teen from smoking. As mentioned, every state is handling these regulations differently. Here’s what’s affected:
- Definition of what’s considered a “tobacco product”
- Licensure for sellers
- Other retail restrictions
- Product packaging
- Smoke-free legislation affecting vaping
- Taxation and pricing
- Youth access
At Turning Winds, we further educate teens and families on the dangers of vaping. Visit turningwinds.com to see how our compassionate community of counselors and educators can help your teen lead a healthier life.