An electronic device that simulates tobacco smoking by heating a liquid in a cartridge or tank to create vapor that is inhaled. The device may contain nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. The vapor contains volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde and acrolein, as well as metal particles, such as nickel, chromium, tin, and aluminum that can harm the lungs.
E-cigarettes have become increasingly popular among teens since they were first introduced in 2007. A recent survey from the CDC shows that one in five high school students reported vaping in the past month. This is almost triple the number of high school students who smoked cigarettes in the same period. The vaping industry is targeting young people, using marketing and flavors that are appealing to youth, and promoting it as a healthier alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes.
Kids are especially prone to vaping because they are told it is a safe and harmless way to get their nicotine fix, that it is a better option for them than smoking, and that it will help them quit smoking. Kids also tend to be more susceptible to addiction, because their brains are still developing, and are more vulnerable than adults’.
Vaping is growing at an alarming rate in the UK, with a leading respiratory doctor saying that without urgent regulation a generation of teenagers could be condemned to long-term addiction and lung damage. “Vaping is a problem the government needs to take seriously,” Dr Mike McKean, vice-president of policy for the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health said.
It is hard for parents to know how much their children are vaping, because the devices leave little odor and can be used discreetly in places like bedrooms, bathrooms, and classrooms. But the CDC has found that 85 percent of adolescent vapers say they favor fruit, dessert, or candy-flavored e-cigarettes, and some cite Juul, PuffBar, Vuse, or other brands as their preferred ones.
A new study by Johns Hopkins University scientists reveals that thousands of chemical ingredients are in the vapor produced by e-cigarettes and other vaping products. Researchers are concerned that many of these chemicals, such as volatile organic compounds, may cause lung damage or can trigger addiction. The study found that many of the chemicals are not listed on the product label, and some, such as acrylonitrile, formaldehyde, and acrolein, are known to cause cancer in lab animals.
Another concern is that many of the chemicals are not regulated, because they are not classified as tobacco products and are not subject to the same federal oversight as traditional cigarettes. The researchers recommend that users of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices avoid products purchased from informal sources, such as friends and family, or from online vendors, and avoid modifying or adding any materials to the devices.
Parents who are concerned that their kids are vaping should speak with them about it. Start by asking them if they hear other kids at their school vaping and if they think it’s harmless, then move on to explaining the potential health hazards and the addictiveness of nicotine and other substances in a vape, as well as possible addiction treatment options.