In December 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General released a report about e-cigarette use among teens. This was in response to news that e-cigarette use among youths has increased by 900 percent between 2011 and 2015. Although e-cigarettes were placed under FDA oversight earlier in 2016, health experts remain concerned about their effects on teens.
Researchers are finally reaching some answers about the safety of using e-cigarettes. Government agencies, the American Lung Association, and prominent medical research centers have been studying e-cigarette effects since the devices were introduced about a decade ago. They have announced some solid conclusions.
The main ingredient in e-cigarettes is nicotine, along with various chemicals and flavorings. When smoked (vaped), the liquid in the cartridge turns to vapor and the nicotine and chemicals are inhaled.
The consequences are as follows:
- When used, e-cigarettes send a rush of nicotine and other harmful chemicals into the lungs.
- E-cigarettes, which were originally billed as a safe alternative for tobacco smoking, actually deliver the same addictive chemical – nicotine.
- Nicotine has been proven over many years of research to harm teens’ brain development, raise blood pressure and heart rate, and produce cravings for more and more of the chemical.
- Rather than discouraging teens from smoking, e-cigarettes actually encourage teens to turn to using more tobacco products.
Talk to Your Teens
Here are some recommendations for conversations you can have with your teens about e-cigarettes.
Raise the subject in general terms at first. Offer the idea that the best prevention against smoking or vaping is not to start. Talk about staying healthy, including avoiding addictive substances like nicotine in any form.
If they’ve started, make a plan. Help your teens quit through some simple steps:
- Set goals like using one less e-cigarette per day or setting vape-free days.
- Encourage them to recognize and avoid triggers like using after dinner or while out with certain friends.
- Teach them how to distract themselves from cravings by diverting their thoughts to other subjects.
- Encourage them to stay busy with healthy activities they enjoy.
For even more information about the potential dangers of E-Cigarette use, contact the physicians at 24/7 Pediatrics today!