Tarrant County Public Health believes it's important for parents to know that their child's continued exposure to e-cigarettes of ANY kind can harm their brain and seriously affect their ability to learn, remember and maintain focus. And we want to help you help your child understand what they may be doing to themselves.
"The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of
e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern.
We must take action now to protect the health of our nation's young people."
U.S. Surgeon General advisory, September 2018
This webpage will arm you with facts you need to know and help you talk to your child about the dangers of vaping and e-cigs.
Vaping is a newer alternative to smoking. Basically, vaping is a verb describing the use of a vaporizer. The process involves heating up liquid which is then atomized into vapor that is inhaled. This vapor carries the nicotine into the lungs which is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs for short, are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that is then inhaled by the user. The aerosol from e-cigarettes is not a harmless vapor. It is a mixture of nicotine and potentially harmful chemicals that are not safe to breathe.
Some newer e-cigarettes on the market contain nicotine salts in liquid form, and those who use them may not understand the use, purpose and safety of this form of nicotine. The makers of JUUL (one of the more popular types of e-cigarettes) actually claim their nicotine salt formulation increases the rate and amount of nicotine delivered in the blood, compared to other products.
Nicotine is very addictive and can harm brain development, especially in users from adolescence into their mid-20s.
The addictive nature of vaping messes with the one thing teens want the most: independence. Being addicted to nicotine is like losing your freedom of choice. It goes from a WANT to a NEED. The risk of losing that freedom might be a method for parents to talk to their teens/tweens.
How much nicotine is in an e-cigarette?
Nicotine levels in e-cigarettes vary, though some --like JUUL-- reach levels similar to regular cigarettes.
Labeling is not always a reliable indicator of nicotine content, as studies have found mislabeling a common problem among e-cigarette manufacturers.
Are e-cigarettes harmful?
There is no "typical" e-cigarette. The products have different ingredients, different hardware and deliver a range of nicotine levels and potentially toxic chemicals.
One of those toxic chemical --diacetyl-- was once commonly used to give food products such as popcorn a rich, buttery flavor. It has been shown to lead to a condition known as "popcorn lung," where the tiny air sacs inside the lungs develop scarring. This condition was first identified among popcorn factory workers who inhaled the chemical at their workplace.
E-cigarettes are also called e-cigs, vape pens, mods and pod mods (the ones that look like USB drives). Here are some of the more popular vaping devices:
Before the Conversation
Start the Conversation
A more natural discussion will increase the likelihood your teen will listen. Rather than saying "We need to talk..." you might ask your teen what he/she thinks about a situation you witness together such as:
Empower Your Teen
Help your teen make healthy choices by asking him/her to highlight the pros and cons of vaping. While "it's fun" and "my friends are all doing it" might seem like good reasons to start, your teen probably understands that there are some compelling reasons to stop, as well.
Questions like, "How will vaping affect your ability to keep up on the field?" or "Do your friends who vape complain about feeling tired a lot?" may trigger your teen to consider the potential pitfalls.
"What's the big deal about nicotine?"
"Aren't e-cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?"
"You used tobacco, so why can't I?"
Additional background information - Patterns of e-cig use among youth
E-cigarettes first entered the U.S. marketplace around 2007. But since 2014, they have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. E-cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students increased 900 percent from 2011-2015, before declining for the first time from 2015 to 2017. However, current e-cigarette use has increased 78 percent among high school students during 2018, up from 11.7 percent in 2017 to 20.8 percent. In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students, currently use e-cigarettes.
It has become so alarming that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched a campaign in September 2018 to warn youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use.
County Telephone Operator 817-884-1111
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