The Dangers of E-Cigarettes
Unfortunately this is a common misconception but there are NO benefits to using e-cigarettes. This should be an obvious fact, but justifications have been made for using them. Middle schoolers and high schoolers are using e-cigarettes more and more. In fact, they are the most-used tobacco product by kids today. We need to talk about the dangers that go with them.
Just because the cigarette is electronic does not make your child’s lungs any safer from the bad habit. In fact, there are cases where a kid can ingest a higher concentration of nicotine! Most youth also add flavorings to their nicotine vaping like menthol, alcohol, candy, fruit, chocolate and sweets. An appeal is that kids believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than other tobacco products. But there are more harmful chemicals involved with smoking an e-cigarette than in a regular one. One of them is aerosol, which is a chemical from e-cigarettes. Diacetyl is a flavoring that is “linked to a serious lung disease.” Benzene is another e-cigarette chemical and also found in car exhaust. Nickel, tin and lead are also a part of the vaping process. Metals and car exhaust chemicals should not be in someone’s lungs. Ever! Especially when the brain is not fully developed until the age of 25. If the teen breathes in these chemicals at any age younger than that, that teen’s brain will conform to the chemicals and turn the habit into an addiction.
Another danger to e-cigarettes is that young people are vaping marijuana with them. This is also known as “dabbing.” There’s another danger to this besides addiction such as burning butane. Butane is used to extract THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) from the cannabis plant. This can cause fires and/or explosions since burning butane is highly inflammable.
E-cigarettes can be in different shapes other than the standard cigarette shape. Some are in the shape of an egg. Some are rectangular. And some are rectangular with a cylinder at the end. JUUL, an e-cigarette company, has even made them look like USB flash drives, so they are easier to hide. And e-cigarettes are easy to hide as they are since they are small. Other companies are following suit.
So here’s what you can do. Talk with your kids about the mentioned dangers that go with e-cigarettes. The facts are there, and they need to be aware of them. Make sure they feel informed, not lectured. Having them talk to a health professional would definitely help. Go to your kid’s school to encourage the staff to teach kids about the risks of smoking and vaping. It also helps if the family around them is tobacco-free.
However, we know how hard of a struggle that tobacco addiction can be. If you or your child need help with quitting, go to smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. The website gives topics like the benefits of quitting and how to get back on track when slipping. The number will take you to a free telephone counseling program.
Jacobson, A. (2019, March 5). Teens and vaping marijuana: Understanding the dangers of ‘dabbing.’Chicago Sun-Times.https://chicago.suntimes.com