Vaping is the new fad. You can’t walk into a bar or a coffee shop without seeing a bunch of young people exhale aromatic clouds into the air. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 11.3% of middle and high school students use tobacco products. That means almost 1 in 9 teenagers vape. The high E-cigarette use rate among youth indicates that it should be carefully studied. How does vaping affect teenage health? Is it really harmless? We will talk about it in this article.
What Is an E-cigarette?
An E-cigarette, or a vape, is an electronic device that substitutes traditional cigarettes. A vape heats a liquid (also called E-liquid) that will create an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid contains chemicals such as propylene glycol, flavorings, and vegetable glycerin. It can also contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or nicotine, and more often than not it does. In fact, 99.0% of the e-cigarettes sold in 2015 contained nicotine, as reported by an article published in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH).
E-cigarettes came to the market to replace tobacco cigarettes. It is commonly believed that vaping is less harmful than smoking. This opinion is also supported scientifically: Dr. Michael Joseph Blaha, M.D., states that since there are fewer toxic chemicals inside E-cigarettes, vaping is certainly less detrimental to human health.
But is it completely safe? And what are the effects of teenage vaping?
Effects of Vaping on Teens
So, if it’s safer than cigarettes, why is vaping bad for teens? Although vaping is less dangerous than smoking, this does not always indicate that minors may safely use it. Here are some of the side effects of teenage vaping:
Contrary to popular belief, vaping can be addictive. In fact, the nicotine present in E-liquids can cause addiction just as much as regular cigarettes do.
Teenagers are in a sensitive period of their lives. Their future selves will be shaped by the personalities they are now developing. So, it’s important which habits they pick up during their teenage years. It goes without saying that any sort of addiction, whether it’s screen addiction or addiction to nicotine, is really harmful to teenagers. The reason is that it’ll be doubly hard to quit since it’s rooted deep within the person’s routine.
It Can Damage Brain Development
Vaping is known as a healthier alternative to smoking. Nevertheless, it can affect the human brain just like smoking does. The human brain takes years to fully develop. It’s been said that brain development doesn’t stop before 25 years. An underdeveloped brain is more vulnerable to external factors. An article published in 2012 indicates that the nicotine present in vaping products can damage teenagers’ brains, leading to psychiatric and attention disorders, among others.
It May Cause Lung Injury
Vaping has been associated with several pulmonary complications, the most serious of which is e-cigarette/vaping-associated lung injury (EVALI). EVALI is a dangerous medical condition that refers to lung damage caused by the use of E-cigarettes.
The vitamin E-acetate found in THC-containing vaping products has been linked to the development of EVALI. Besides, the New England Journal of Medicine published a paper that revealed some unfortunate news: 48 out of 51 EVALI patients, sampled from 16 states, carried vitamin E acetate in their lung fluids.
It Can Encourage Reckless Behavior
Let’s just put it out there: vaping is cool. All the cool kids at the school vape; that wildly-known influencer on Instagram vapes; everyone seems to vape these days! Your child might want one too because they’d like to fit in. Just doing what everybody else does can teach them that they should bend in any way society wants them to. This can put them in some dangerous situations later in life. And if they start vaping today at such a young age, who’s to say that they won’t switch to more harmful substances when they’re older?
How Should I Know if My Teen Is Vaping?
It makes sense for parents to want to know whether their child is vaping given all the negative vaping effects on teens that have already been addressed. Unfortunately, this is not so easy.
Unlike cigarettes, vaping products have been designed in a way to make you like them right away. They come in many flavors that taste and smell really good. So, you can’t really find out if they’re vaping from the smell of it. Teenagers are also experts at hiding stuff, and snooping through your child’s things is not very nice.
Most teenagers’ thoughts and activities are reflected in their online activities. Their online history is like a roadmap to their brains. They get their ideas from the internet and then reflect them on their social media. That’s why they need supervision until they reach a certain age when they’re no longer vulnerable to threats. Read more about social media safety tips for students.
Until then, you can use Safes to help you find out whether they’re vaping or not. Safes is a parental control app that lets you monitor your children’s online activities. It can also help you check to see whether they’ve ordered a vaping device online or if they’re looking at content about vaping. It’s easy to use and can be installed on both Android and iOS devices. Also, if you want to use it on windows, here’s how you can do it.
How does vaping affect teenage health? Apparently, it affects teenagers’ health in many ways and it even has some negative effects on their behavior. Therefore, it’s best that they refrain from vaping until they’re older and can decide for themselves. In the meantime, they should do things that are advantageous to their development, or things that are at least not detrimental to it.