According to the Child Mind Institute, vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by the heated nicotine liquid (“juice”) of an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette or e-cig), vape pen, or personal vaporizer. The act of smoking these e-cigarettes is commonly known as JUULing. A JUUL is a popular vape device available in different flavors. A JUUL looks similar to a flash drive and can be charged in a USB port.
JUUL dangerously delivers high levels of nicotine, making the product extremely addictive.
Why has teen vaping become popular?
Dr. Sarper Taskiran, of the Child Mind Institute, shares that many teens believe vaping is not as bad for their health as smoking cigarettes. In fact, many teens think that the product is not harmful to their health at all. Electronic cigarette companies state that their product only contains 5 percent nicotine; however, this is misleading.
According to Dr. Nora D. Volkow of the National Institute of Health, “Teens are clearly attracted to the marketable technology and flavorings seen in vaping devices. However, it is urgent that teens understand the possible effects of vaping on overall health, the development of the teen brain, and the potential for addiction.”
Is vaping harmful for teens?
Studies have shown that teens who vape are much more likely to start smoking cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists the following reasons why e-cigarettes and nicotine are unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults:
- A recent CDC study found that 99 percent of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the U.S. contained nicotine.
- Some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine. Some e-cigarettes marketed as containing 0 percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.
- Nicotine harms the parts of the developing adolescent brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Nicotine use in adolescence may also increase the risk of future addiction to other drugs.
The Child Mind Institute also included these other risks:
- Vaping increases heart rate and blood pressure and can increase circulatory problems.
- According to the JUUL website, the nicotine content of one JUUL is equivalent to one pack of cigarettes. Because of these high nicotine levels, vaping is extremely addictive. Teens are already more susceptible to addiction than adults because their brains are still developing, which makes them more likely to try using drugs and alcohol.
- Vaping causes lung irritation similar to that seen in smokers and people with lung disease and causes damage to vital immune system cells.
- There have been several deaths and hundreds of cases of lung illness attributed to vaping. Right now, it is unclear if the cause is bootleg cartridges containing THC, CBD oil, or legal nicotine cartridges. The CDC and the American Medical Association are recommending that people avoid vaping entirely while this is being investigated.
Teen vaping statistics
With how accessible e-cigarettes are today, addiction can creep into our teens’ lives like a thief in the night. Nicotine addiction looks to destroy anything in its path, hoping to steal our loved one’s joy.
According to the National Institution on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, teens are more likely to use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. 66% of teens believe that the substance inside their e-cigs is simply just flavoring; however, this is not the case. E-cigarette manufacturers do not have to report the ingredients in their products; therefore, consumers do not truly know what is in them.
With the rise in use, how are teens exposed to an e-cigarette in the first place? According to the NIH, 7 out of 10 teens are exposed to vaping products through ads. These include retail, internet, TV/movie, newspaper, and magazine ads. High school students are exposed at an increased rate than middle school students, suggesting that e-cigarette companies are targeting the younger generations.
With these statistics in mind, knowing federal regulations and how they impact your teen is imperative.
Is vaping regulated by the government?
As reported by the CDC, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority was extended to cover e-cigarettes through the agency’s “deeming rule” in August of 2016. The message states:
“Through the authority granted by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA), the FDA has authority to develop regulations that address the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of e-cigarettes. However, the FSPTCA does not prevent states and communities from adopting many strategies related to e-cigarettes. There are also many strategies that the FDA does not have the authority to implement and that states can do, such as including e-cigarettes in smoke-free policies, pricing strategies, and increasing the age of sale for tobacco products to 21.”
Can states regulate teen vaping?
According to the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, each state has its own e-cigarette regulations in the following areas: definition of “tobacco product,” taxation, product packaging, youth access/other retail restrictions, licensure, and smoke-free air legislation. Ensuring you know your state’s laws is crucial to having a successful conversation with your child.
How do I talk to my teen about vaping?
Here are tips for talking with your teen about e-cigarettes, according to the U.S. Surgeon General:
- Before talking to your teen, know the facts. Obtain credible information about e-cigarettes and young people to ensure you are guiding your teen well.
- Be patient and ready to listen. Avoid criticism and encourage an open dialogue. Your goal is to have a conversation, not deliver a lecture. It’s okay for your conversation to take place in bits and pieces over time.
- Set a positive example by being tobacco-free. If you use tobacco, it’s never too late to quit. For free help, visit smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Start the conversation by finding the right moment. Having a more natural and relaxed conversation with your teen will allow them to be more open to the discussion. Ask your teen what he or she thinks about a situation you witness together, such as seeing someone use an e-cigarette in person or in a video; passing an e-cigarette shop when you are walking or driving, or seeing an e-cigarette advertisement in a store or magazine or on the internet. This approach has proven to be more beneficial than telling your child, “We need to talk.”
- Ask for support. Not sure where to begin? Ask your healthcare provider to talk to your teen about the risks of e-cigarettes. You might also suggest that your teen talk with other trusted adults, such as relatives, teachers, faith leaders, coaches, or counselors who are aware of the risks of e-cigarettes. These supportive adults can help reinforce your message as a parent.
- Answer their questions and keep the conversation going.
How do YES programs address teen vaping?
Many of our YES Motivational Experience programs cover the topics of drug, alcohol, and substance abuse. They not only present the dangerous facts to students but also educate them on how to make the right choices by listening to the right voices. Our positive approach to prevention equips students with the vital connection they need to achieve greater success without the damaging effects of drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and/or other substances.
Want to learn more about YES drug and alcohol prevention programs?
Please send us a message through our Book Now page, and someone from our YES team will be in touch with you within one business day.
YES Motivational Moments Mini Video Series
PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS: Watch this video with the child in your life, and then use the discussion questions below to help guide your conversation.
Question 1: What are the three most common reasons some teens choose to use drugs and/or alcohol?
Question 2: What pressures do you face daily, and what positive healthy choices can you help alleviate them?
Question 3: What dreams and goals are you saying, “YES!” to when choosing to say, “no” to drugs and alcohol?