SYLVIA MCCRORY JULY 2020
Perhaps one of the most deceptive products to come onto the market in recent years is vaping and the devices used to vape. Vaping has become a dangerous habit of young people. Some of the devices used for vaping are now manufactured to appear to be typical school and office supplies. Vapes may be almost odorless, escaping detection even more. The chemicals used in vapes typically have lasting effects which can become deadly.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8 (NIV)
Why Kids Vape
Many children vape out of curiosity. Children do not have fully developed brains until the ages of 25-30. Many children are drawn to risky behaviors in their teens. Once children reach adolescence, it is far more important for them to “be cool” to their peers than it is to make rational decisions.
Some children vape because of peer pressure or wanting to look cool to their friends. Vaping devices disguised as school products adds greater pressure for students to “be one of the cool kids”.
Vaping allows users to perform tricks, such as, the dragon with smoke coming out the nose and ears. Being able to perform some of these tricks will add to the popularity of children within certain groups.
Addiction to vaping is the stark reality for many children. An activity which appeared to be harmless quickly turns to an addiction with children needing the chemicals to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Can you recognize vaping canisters?
Vaping canisters come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The original canisters had the appearance of cigarettes, pipes, or cigars. Today many canisters have the appearance of school, office products, and personal items. These products look like USB sticks, flash drives, lip gloss, erasers, cell phones, pens, guitar picks, watches, and more. I encourage parents to research these devices to become familiar with them, in the event your children are using them.
Do you know what is in vapes?
Vapes contain e-liquids which contain nicotine, flavoring chemicals, and other chemicals. Nicotine in vapes has a strong taste, bring about the need for flavorings. The nicotine has a range of 2mg/ml to over 59mg/ml in each pod, with the larger amount equal to amount in 1-2 packs of cigarettes. These high amounts of nicotine cause an addiction and dependency on the products. According to the Partnership to End Addiction, “Nicotine is a stimulant that makes the nervous system prepare the body for physical and mental activity. It causes breathing to become more rapid and shallow, as well as increases heart rate and blood pressure. Vaping exposes young people to nicotine at a time when the human brain is most at risk for addiction. Because the brain continues to develop until early adulthood, roughly age 25-30, use of any addictive substance prior to these years is especially risky. Young people who vape are affected more intensely than are adults by nicotine. Nicotine negatively affects the cardiovascular system (increasing heart rate and blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke), respiratory/lung functioning (including inflammation, asthma and wheezing) and reproductive organs. Taking in high doses of nicotine can lead to nicotine toxicity, which in severe cases can give rise to seizures as well as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, dizziness, respiratory failure, coma and paralysis.”
Flavoring chemicals are added to improve the flavor of the vape. Flavors, such as, cotton candy, cherry blast, tropical twist, and gummy bears are attractive to young children. In May 2020, the FDA banned the flavorings fearing children would begin vaping. However, many skeptics fear this will not deter many shops from selling them. These chemicals used for flavoring are potentially dangerous.
Other chemicals used in vaping include heavy metals, tiny particles and other toxic chemicals. The Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education out of the University of California San Francisco identifies nine chemicals in e-cig vapor.
These chemicals are known to cause cancer, birth defect, or other reproductive harm. There are other toxic chemicals which cause damage to the cardiovascular system.
Do not be misled to believe vapes contain nicotine and harmless water vapor.
Marijuana used in some vapes
These are also flavored to attract children. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana produces a high is the ingredient found in vapes. Vaping THC allows the user to have a longer lasting high. It is more potent and more dangerous than smoking marijuana. The Partnership to End Addiction lists the following “long-lasting effects on the developing teen brain:
- impaired attention, learning, problem-solving skills, memory and other cognitive functions
- impaired reaction time and coordination, especially related to driving
- academic or job difficulties, school dropout
- increased risk of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and, in some cases, psychosis and suicidal thoughts
- marijuana use disorder (addiction) and other substance use and addiction
What parents can do
Be realistic, understand vaping is so prevalent with youth it could be going on in your family. The long-range health risks are too damaging to ignore. Parents should always encourage and open conversation with children about ANYTHING. Children who trust their parents to be understanding are more likely to share their experiences with them. Below is a list of ways parents should be involved, hopefully before it becomes a problem within your family.
- Become educated. Research the different styles of vapes, the chemicals, and the health risks.
- Understand how children get these devices – paying someone to buy them, online, buying them from a peer, available at some gas stations. Just because there are age requirements to purchase these, doesn’t mean children haven’t discovered other ways to get them.
- Odor – many vapes are almost odorless, however, there might be a slight aroma, especially with the flavored vapes. Become aware of odd odors in children’s room.
- Learn vaping slang – According to Partnership to End Addiction, “You may see vaping slang in text messages such as “atty” for an atomizer, “VG” for vegetable glycerin found in e-juice or “sauce” referring to e-juice. Getting “nicked” refers to the euphoria experienced with high doses of nicotine and feeling “nic sick” refers to heart palpitations, nausea/vomiting or lightheadedness associated with the overuse of nicotine vapes.”
- Know physical symptoms –trouble breathing, headaches, cough, dizziness, sore throat, chest pain, allergic reactions, such as itchiness, swelling of lips, worsening of asthma symptoms, lung disease, heart disease.
- Have open, honest conversations with your children about vaping, sharing the information you have acquired. Approach children from a place of love and concern. Stay informed.
As vaping is becoming more popular, especially with young people, parents need to be more vigilant and attentive to any changes with children. Meet with other parents and sponsor a speaker from the community (in law enforcement, or the health community) to educate the group. Parents working together helps everyone get a true perspective of the problem.
Copyright 2020 Christian Parenting Today. All Rights Reserved.
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