Vaping and Kids: What You Should Know

By Dr. Michelle Chapin

What is Vaping?

Ask a high school or middle school student here in Colorado, and chances are they have seen their peers vaping if not tried it themselves. "Vaping" is the use of  an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) devices to heat a liquid "e-juice" that contains nicotine and other chemicals. The most common brand is Juul (pronounced "jewel"), and many kids refer to Juuling as synonymous with vaping 

E-cigarettes come in many sleek, easy-to-hide forms. They can look like flash drives, pens, or even asthma inhalers. And because they don’t create any visible smoke or odor, kids can and do use them everywhere—including in the classroom. They are heavily marketed to kids with flavored e-juice that comes in attractive flavors like mango, cool mint, fruit medley, candy, coffee and chocolate. According to research from the CDC, kids say that flavor is a big reason they use e-cigarettes.

Technically, you have to be at least 18 to purchase a nicotine containing product (and older in some areas). But the e-juice pods for Juul and other e-cigarettes are easily available online,where age is often not verified, and kids will tell you they are easy to obtain.

So what’s the big deal?

E-cigarettes are highly addictive, particularly the Juul brand, which has twice the concentration of nicotine compared to other brands. Nicotine is the same addictive substance found in traditional cigarettes. The brains of children and teenagers are still developing, making them at higher risk for nicotine addiction to begin with. Kids who vape just once are more likely to try other kinds of tobacco.

What to do?

Talk with your child. If they aren’t vaping, praise and reinforce that decision and give them the facts. If they are using e-cigarettes, talk together about the risks of vaping, and consult your pediatrician for additional help.

Ask your child why they think companies like Juul are spending so much money to market addictive products to them. Nicotine addiction that starts early persists, often for a lifetime,and that only benefits the companies’ bottom line. Encourage kids to think for themselves and join the team of people, including their family, friends and health care providers, that care about them and their health in outsmarting the e-cigarette companies.

Posted: 1/17/2019 2:06:48 PM by Sarah Capen | with 0 comments
Filed under: e-cigarette, juuling, nicotine, vaping

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