In recent months, the US Surgeon General has named teen vaping an epidemic, citing the 11% of high school seniors that admit to vaping. It can be unsettling to find out that your own teen has tried vaping, but do you really know the dangers of vaping?
Here’s a quick guide to refer to so you can have a frank discussion with your teen regarding the health risks he or she could be subjected to with vaping.
Sweet Flavors Mask Nicotine Content
Teens – and even adults – that find themselves hooked on vaping admit that the initial draw is often the variety of flavors vapes tend to come in. With flavors ranging from fruits, to baked goods, to popular brands of candies, it’s easy to see why these alternatives appeal to teens. However, the flavors can mask the fact that most vapes contain nicotine. Specifically, some brands use nicotine salts to further mask the taste and lead to quicker absorption. While your teen may be enjoying a unique flavor that seems harmless, they’re also building a dependence on nicotine.
Teen Brains May Be More Vulnerable to Nicotine
Biologically speaking, people who experience nicotine earlier in life are also more susceptible to become dependent on it. These days, teenagers in particular often experience nicotine for the first time through vaping, and the feelings and mood boosts that come along with it can be difficult to put aside. For teens that vape for multiple reasons, however, the physical symptoms of addiction may be less concerning than the psychological.
The Psychological Aspect Is Hard to Ignore
Although the physical symptoms of teens who use vapes are similar to adults addicted to cigarettes, the psychological and social aspects can be much more apparent and difficult to dismiss. With so many vaping, it can appear to vulnerable teens that everyone is doing it, making the psychological pressure to continue that much more significant. In addition, flavor and ubiquity can make vaping seem harmless, making it that much more difficult to discuss or consider quitting.
Quitting Is More Difficult for Teens
Once they’re addicted, teens often find it difficult to quit. There aren’t as many resources for teen nicotine addicts as for adult, and smoking cessation products are either unavailable or less effective. In fact, there are zero smoking cessation products on the market currently that are approved for teens.
If your teen is vaping, it’s important that you discuss health effects, such as long-term physical addiction, psychological addiction, and the unknown effects of e-liquids that are yet untested by the FDA. Although they may seem so, vapes aren’t harmless, and vaping is a habit your teen should stop, with your support, sooner rather than later.