I was at district-wide safety meeting a few weeks ago, and one topic kept coming up: vaping. In fact, an on-site police office said, "make sure you're on top of this. I promise you: some of your kids are vaping." The mom I was sitting next to didn't even know what he was talking about. "Vaping?! Is that, like, smoking pot?!"
Kind of, but no... Because, while most kids think vaping is harmless, it's actually a seriously dangerous habit that's on the rise. Indeed, it's a widespread problem across the United States; no, your community is not immune, and, yes, it's happening everywhere. Parents and kids need to be prepared and educated--because the consequences are real.
As parents and editors with an online community, we want to help break it down to the fundamentals; share the facts and help you understand. And so, with that in mind, we're sharing the who, what, when, and where's of vaping--all the basic info you need to know to prevent or stop it from happening in your home and beyond.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is inhaling the aerosol--or vapor--generated by an electronic cigarette device or vaping pen.
The pen has a mouthpiece, a battery, a heating component, and cartridge that holds e-juice; and when someone is vaping, the battery activates the heating component, creating a vapor that is inhaled into the lungs.
The ingredients of these "e-juices" vary, but usually contain propylene glycol or vegetable a glycerin-based liquid. While they don't contain tobacco, many (even some that claim otherwise) do contain nicotine and other chemicals.
Who Is Vaping?
Generation "guinea pig," as defined by the New York Times in a recent eye-opening article… That’s the youth of today. The long-term effects of vaping are not yet known but early research indicates that it is addictive, if not downright dangerous. While e-cigarettes were initially launched as a tool to help nicotine-users quit traditional cigarettes, they have taken on a new life with a new market: teens, tweens, and children. With minty, fruity, and sugary-sweet e-juice flavors offered and advertised, it’s no wonder users are getting younger and younger.
Should You Be Concerned?
In short: yes. While it will take years for official studies to roll out, there is enough solid evidence to conclude that vaping is dangerous. At the very least, vaping with even nicotine-free e-juice flavors is a gateway to abusing other substances: nicotine-containing vapors, traditional cigarettes, and marijuana. But even scarier: early evidence shows that, when heated, the propylene glycol and glycerol can form carcinogenic compounds; and Diacetyl, a chemical often found in flavored vape juice, has been shown to potentially causes "popcorn lung."
What Can You Do About It?
Talk to You Children: Take a strong stance on vaping and stick to it. Share the startling facts and let them know that, while there's more research to be done, the already known risks are reason enough to abstain. Peer pressure definitely plays a significant role in vaping--especially since it's something that happens at school. Practice conversations to ensure your child has a game plan should they be in a situation where others are vaping.
Know Your School's Policy: Since vaping doesn't have an obvious odor* (like cigarettes or marijuana), kids are able to do it in public without getting noticed. And this means, it's happening more and more inside schools. Many districts have taken a no-tolerance policy; know what your school is doing to enforce their rules and keep lines of communication open. *In fact, it can have a minty or sweet fragrance, but faculty and staff wouldn't necessarily realize the odor is caused by vaping.
This is not a sponsored post.