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What Parents Need to Know About Vaping

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What Parents Need to Know About Vaping

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Experts Explain the Negative Effects of Vaping

Vaping and electronic cigarettes (e cigarettes) are a problem for teens across the country.  Many are receiving the message that they are safer than tobacco cigarettes, but there are many risks, including nicotine addiction, with vaping as well.  10% of high schoolers and 5% of middle schoolers have reported using electronic cigarettes. (Source: AP News) And many may be feeling influenced to vape by social media, especially TikTok. (Source: Forbes)

We asked doctors and other healthcare professionals to explain the effects of vaping and to share their best tips parents can use to talk to their children about the risks.

1. Adolescent nicotine users have an increased risk for future addiction

Kriya Lendzion

Kriya Lendzion, Clinical Mental Health Counselor,  https://www.kriyalendzion.com/

In this podcast, clinical mental health counselor, Kriya Lendzion has an in depth discussion with SmartSocial.com founder Josh Ochs about teen vaping, the effects of nicotine and THC on adolescents, and how parents can discuss the dangers of vaping with their teens.  

  • When an adolescent is using nicotine, it damages the part of the brain that produces serotonin long term. We are seeing nicotine users that started as adolescents with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and they are more likely to become alcoholics
  • E cigarettes use nicotine salts instead of nicotine which is more addictive.  The stronger something is, the faster it goes to the brain, the more addictive, particularly for our adolescents who are wired for habit forming and addiction like they never will be at any other time in their lives
  • The THC that is being included in vape pens is a cannabis concentrate.  They can look like butter or wax (known as a “dab") or as cartridges of liquid THC.  The THC levels in these are known to range from 50% to 95% compared to 20% in a marijuana plant
  • There are possible negative side effects to ingesting high amounts of THC such as psychosis, paranoia, losing consciousness, and extreme nausea and stomach pains
  • Talk often with your teens about vaping and its dangerous effects.  Weave the topic into conversations organically when you’re walking the dog, baking, fixing the car.  You don’t have to make it a big talk.  It’s better to have 60 one minute conversations than one 60 minute conversation

2. Chemicals found in e-cigarette vapor can be equally as damaging as regular cigarettes

Dr. Gary Glassman headshot
Dr. Gary Glassman

Dr. Gary Glassman, Endodontic Specialists

When it comes to oral health, the chemicals found in e cigarette vapor can be equally as damaging, and in some cases more damaging, than regular cigarettes. The damage from vaping can lead to problems such as gum disease, tooth loss, and mouth cancer. Nicotine is listed as one of the ingredients in vape liquid, which has been proven to cause recession of the gums because it reduces that blood flow that passes through the veins. It therefore deprives the gums of crucial nutrients and oxygen necessary for optimal health. Over time, that can cause gum tissue to wither and die.

Nicotine can also be a contributing factor in conditions like periodontitis and gingivitis, and is also a muscle stimulant, which can cause people who are teeth grinders an elevation in their problem. Vaping can also cause smokers cough. For vapers who use e-liquids that have zero nicotine content, they will not experience the cough, but their gums can still be an issue so they need to keep up with regular dental check ups to help screen for potential vascular effects on their gums, possible gingivitis, and other conditions.

3. The effects of vaping puts people at risk of heart disease and strokes

Dr. Gary Glassman headshot
David Belk MD

David Belk MD, Internal Medicine

The main purpose of vaping is to inhale nicotine without inhaling tobacco smoke. Here's the problem with that: The most addictive chemical in tobacco is nicotine. It's also one of the most toxic chemicals in tobacco. Nicotine is a potent neurotoxin and is the chief cause of the cardiovascular problems associated with tobacco use including strokes and heart attacks. People think that cigarettes are bad because they cause cancer, but cigarettes kill far more people through cardiovascular diseases than by the cancers they cause. Vaping puts people at at least as much risk of nicotine addiction and heart disease or strokes as any other type of tobacco use.

4. Recent studies suggest that vaping can be more dangerous than smoking cigarettes

Caleb Backe headshot
Caleb Backe

Caleb Backe, Maple Holistics

Many recent studies have now suggested that vaping can be more dangerous than smoking traditional tobacco products. While this doesn’t mean that cigarettes are in any way healthier, when weighed up against each other, vaping tends to come up as being the slightly more hazardous option of the two.

The reasons for the dangers of vaping are quite obvious - you’re sucking harmful chemicals into your lungs and generally more often than you would with cigarettes because they taste better and feel lighter. Because of the high levels of heat generated by the coil found in vaporizers, the direct inhalation of harmful chemicals and metals such as formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, manganese, nickel and chromium has a more harmful effect on your mouth, throat, and lungs because the concentration of the smoke is a lot higher (vaporizers tend to create more internally concentrated smoke) and the allure of delicious flavoring helps to disguise the danger somewhat.

Conclusion

The negative effects of vaping on today's youth cannot be overstated. As parents, it is our responsibility to stay informed and vigilant about the vaping epidemic sweeping through our middle and high school student's lives. The allure of vaping and e cigarettes, often enhanced by clever marketing and the misconception of being a 'safer' alternative to smoking, poses significant health risks, including addiction, severe lung injuries, and detrimental impacts on mental health. By engaging in open, honest dialogues with our children, staying updated on the latest trends and research, and setting clear, supportive guidelines, we can help steer our youth away from the dangers of vaping.

Additional Resources

Avoiding Strangers, Drugs, and Dangerous Situations Online

Drugs on Social Media: What Parents & Educators Need to Look Out For

What is the Chroming Challenge: Understanding the Perils of Inhaling Toxic Chemicals

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Quotation marks

This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

StarStarStarStarStar

Sharon M.

Parent VIP Member

Quotation marks

Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

StarStarStarStarStar

Director of College Advising

Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

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