What is vaping? Also referred to as e-cigs, e-hookahs, ends, or juulings, vapes or e-cigarettes are devices that operate by heating a liquid solution to a high enough temperature so that it produces an aerosol that is inhaled. When e-cigarettes first began entering the market around 2007, some devices were designed to resemble regular cigarettes while others looked like cigars, pipes, pens, and even USB flash drives. More recently, e-cigarettes with sleek and high-tech designs with easy rechargeable batteries have entered the market. The most popular- the JUUL- emerged in 2015 and quickly established itself as a leading e-cigarette product comprising nearly three-quarters of the e-cigarette marketplace by 2019.
Now, let’s look at what’s in a vape. E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive chemical that is particularly risky to teens and young adults. According to the FDA and the 2019 National Youth Tobacco survey results, more than five million United States middle school and high school students are current e-cigarette users. The U.S. Surgeon General classified nicotine as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Teenagers whose brains are still developing have a heightened risk of getting hooked on nicotine. Early research has shown that nicotine addiction may result in lifelong problems with concentrating. There are other chemicals in e-cigarettes that you may not realize including glycol, formaldehyde, acetone, lead, and nickel.
Should I be concerned for my teen? Vaping related injuries started to rise in the summer of 2019. In September of 2019, the CDC reported six deaths and 380 cases of lung- related issues from vaping. By February of 2020, there had been 68 deaths. That is a 1,000% increase since 2019. According to a new study led by researchers at Stanford University, vaping is linked to a substantially increased risk of COVID-19 among teenagers and young adults. Among the participants who were tested for COVID-19, those who used e-cigarettes were five times more likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than non-users.
How can I get help for my loved one? Kids today are exposed to so much more than they were 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Our kids are stressed and anxious and some turn to nicotine and alcohol to help them cope with those stressors. If you’ve discovered that your child is addicted to vaping or nicotine, remember you are not alone. Compact is here for you. Visit our Facebook page for video resources, visit our website www.compact2020.com or call our parent talk line, 205-605-1827. †