Cub Corner

See the source image     E-cigarettes and Vaping


Vaping. It is currently an epidemic among our youth. As a parent or family member, it is important for you to know the facts.
 
E-cigarette use among America’s youth has surged since 2014; and they are now the most commonly used tobacco product in this population. They have the potential to reverse the great progress that has been made in reducing cigarette smoking in our nation’s youth.  According to the U. S. surgeon general, “in 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students currently use e-cigarettes.”
 
An e cigarette consists of three elements – a power source, the heating element, and a reservoir for the e-liquid. The e- liquid contains solvents, flavorings and usually nicotine. This liquid, or “juice” is then aerosolized, and inhaled or “vaped.”
 
What have I heard from teens about vaping?  “It’s no big deal, it’s just “juice and water vapor.” “E-cigs are safer than regular cigarettes.” “The one I use doesn’t have nicotine.” Well here’s the deal.  Packages may not always be accurately labeled and most e-cigarettes do contain nicotine. We know that nicotine is highly addictive and harmful to the developing brain, which does not reach full development until around the mid-20’s. . Nicotine exposure in teens and youth can negatively affect learning, memory and attention. It’s effects can be long lasting and include lower impulse control and mood disorders. Use of nicotine can also increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine.
 
The aerosol from e-cigarettes can also be harmful. Similar to conventional cigarettes, the aerosol contains many toxic substances including heavy metals, chemical flavorings, volatile organic compounds (similar to those found in car exhaust) and ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deeply into the lungs by the user and bystanders (second hand). These substances can cause lung irritation and lead to symptoms consistent with chronic bronchitis.
 
One popular product, the Juul, is shaped like a USB flash drive. It’s small size and minimal exhaled aerosol makes it very easy to conceal.  The typical Juul cartridge contains higher levels of nicotine than some other e-cigarettes - an amount equal to a pack of 20 conventional cigarettes. The higher level of nicotine and use of nicotine salts allow higher levels of nicotine to be inhaled which can quickly lead to nicotine dependence.
 
Youth seem to be attracted to e-cigarettes because of the wide variety of flavors that are available. The cartridges come in appealing flavors such as menthol, fruit, chocolate or other sweets. The epidemic use of these products by students has led to the FDA recently cracking down and taking action with regards to the marketing and illegal sales of e-cigarettes to youth.
 
What can you do as a parent or family member of middle and high school students? First of all, talk to them. Open communication with your teen is so important. It’s never too late to start the conversation. Learn more about e-cigarettes and their risks for young people. Get your child help if they need it. Set a good example and role model positive behaviors by being tobacco-free. If you use tobacco products, talk to your health care provider about getting help to quit. Free help is available at smokefree.gov or 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Keep nicotine pods away from children as ingestion of e-cigarette liquid can cause acute toxicity or even death.
 
You can find more information online through the Centers for Disease Control (cdc.gov), Food and Drug Administration (fda.gov) and the Surgeon General (surgeongneral.gov).
Please talk to your child’s provider if you have any questions.
 
References:
 
https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov
 
https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/electronic-cigarettes-allergy-asthma
 
https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm620184.htm