The signs are clear: The use of electronic cigarettes among youths has reached an epidemic proportion. Affinity Health provides tips for parents on how to prevent their teens from becoming part of a new vaping generation.
Vaping rates among young people are skyrocketing, with E-cigarettes being the most frequently used tobacco product among teens (and even tweens).
“Although e-cigarettes have been around for more than ten years, vaping among teens is on the rise. In fact, estimates suggest that E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among adolescents,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“While the dangers of vaping have still not been set in concrete, there have been several unexplained illnesses and deaths that have been attributed to vaping – and this is a reason for serious concern. It’s important that parents – as well as teens – educate themselves on the risk associated with vaping.”
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling vapour produced by heated nicotine liquid (often called “juice”) placed inside an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), vape pen, or vaporizer. Although vaping manufacturers deny that they are marketing to young people, they have netted a captive market of under 21-year-olds. Similar to alcohol and cigarettes, a substantial amount of vaping advertisements is directed toward youth – making vaping appear “cool”, “fun”, and “socially acceptable”.
In 2019, over 5 million youth reported vaping nicotine, cannabis, and flavourings without active drug substances (such as nicotine or cannabis), increasing from 3.6 million youth in 2018.
While the health risks associated with vaping appear to be less severe than traditional combustible cigarettes (there’s no tar, for example), experts warn that there are still risks.
Known vaping risks may include:
- The majority of E-cigarettes contain nicotine – and nicotine is addictive. Addiction in the growing brain may set up pathways for later addiction to other substances.
- E-cigarettes and similar devices may contain carcinogenic compounds.
- Vaping may cause lung irritation akin to that seen in smokers and people, with lung disease and causes damage to vital immune system cells.
- Vaping may increase heart rate and blood pressure, so it can potentially increase circulatory problems.
- Some teens use e-cigarettes to vape marijuana, THC oil, and other dangerous chemicals. Besides irritating the lungs, these drugs can impact how your teen thinks, acts, and feels.
Vaping is particularly easy to hide, so it can be tricky knowing whether your teen is vaping or not. Affinity Health advises parents to take an inquisitive and curious approach to what their teens are doing.
“The most important thing for parents of teens is to keep conversation channels open. Your teen should be comfortable discussing all topics with you, including vaping. Parents also need to research the cons of vaping, so they can pass this knowledge onto their teens and better equip them with the information they need regarding vaping,” concludes Hewlett.
For more visit: www.affinityhealth.co.za