Inhaling the vapor from electronic devices like e-cigarettes and other vape products is called “vaping.” It’s becoming very popular among teens, and experts are worried that if it continues at this rate, a generation will grow up addicted to nicotine and with lung damage.
When first introduced, e-cigarettes were promoted as a way to quit smoking and reduce health risks for smokers and people around them. But it’s not just nicotine that’s dangerous; the chemicals in e-liquids, or vaping juice, can also cause addiction and even permanent damage to the lungs.
A vape is a battery-powered device that heats liquid into an aerosol, or mist, that you inhale. It looks like water vapor but contains nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals that can be harmful to the lungs. The devices come in all shapes and sizes but have the same basic components: a mouthpiece, a tank or pod to hold the liquid, an atomizer (which converts the liquid into a mist) and a sensor that turns on when you press the button.
Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in e-liquids and can cause changes to your brain that make you want more and more. It can also damage the lungs and cause other serious health problems, including asthma, heart disease, strokes and diabetes.
E-liquids contain many other ingredients, such as propylene glycol and glycerin, which are used to create the vapor and give it that “smoke” appearance. There are also solvents and additives that can be toxic to lungs, as well as heavy metals that can build up in the bloodstream.
Some of the chemicals in e-liquids can also be dangerous to children and pets. They can poison the skin or eyes, and if ingested may cause seizures, lung damage, brain damage, and other health problems. In addition, many of the vaping devices can explode, causing injuries or fires.
Most adolescent e-cigarette users favor fruit, dessert and candy flavors, according to a recent survey. Many of them are unaware that a few puffs can lead to nicotine addiction and other harms. They are under the impression that because it’s not smoke, vaping is safe.
There are a few things parents can do to help prevent or reduce their child’s use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. First, talk to them and ask them if they’re vaping. It’s important to understand their perspective on the matter so you can have a more effective conversation. Also, consider giving them a specific date to stop. Getting them to commit to something concrete can help them follow through on their promise to themselves and stick with it. They can even tell supportive friends and family so they have accountability. Finally, make sure they get rid of all their vaping supplies.