Why Kids Shouldn’t Vape – And How Vaping Can Lead to Lung-Damaging Chemicals

Why Kids Shouldn’t Vape – And How Vaping Can Lead to Lung-Damaging Chemicals

You’ve probably seen kids around school using a vape, or maybe you’ve used one yourself out of curiosity. You may think it’s no big deal to vape “just a little bit.” But vaping exposes you to lung-damaging chemicals and can lead to addiction. The best way to avoid those problems is not to start in the first place.

E-cigarettes, or vaporizers, have become the most popular form of nicotine use among young people in the United States. They’re easy to buy, come in many different flavors, and can be hidden from parents. They’re advertised as safe alternatives to cigarettes, which are known to cause disease and death. Many kids believe they are healthier than cigarettes, and some even use them to quit smoking. But a study1 found that vaping doesn’t help smokers quit and can make them more likely to start smoking again later on.

The devices contain a liquid called e-liquid (or e-juice). It often has flavors and contains nicotine, which is addictive. It also has other chemicals, such as propylene glycol and glycerin, which are used to create an aerosol that you inhale. There’s also a metal coil and a battery that heats it up. When you inhale the vapor, the liquid turns into a fog or mist that contains small particles of nicotine, metal and other chemicals. The lungs are especially affected by these chemicals. They can cause inflammation and scarring, and narrowing of the tubes that bring air in and out of the lungs. In addition, the chemicals can affect other organs. The researchers who looked at the e-liquids found that many had a chemical called diacetyl, which has been linked to a serious lung illness called popcorn lung. There are also worries that other chemicals can damage the lungs.

It’s hard to know what the long-term health effects of vaping will be, but it’s important that kids and adults do what they can to keep children from starting. NHS figures in 2021 showed 9% of 11- to 15-year-olds were vaping, and that rate rises to 16% for those aged 16 to 18. There are calls for regulations similar to those on tobacco to be imposed on the devices to protect children. These could include plain packaging and health warnings, behind-the-counter display requirements, limits on refill bottle and tank sizes, and advertising restrictions.

Dr. Taskiran says it’s a good idea to talk to your child about vaping early and often. He recommends starting with a general discussion by asking things like, “Does a lot of the kids at your school vape?” This gives you an opportunity to educate them and help them understand the risks. He adds that schools need to own this, too. Then they can develop educational strategies to help students stay vape-free. The most important thing is that teens get the facts about this dangerous product and know the warning signs. One pod of a nicotine-based vape delivers as much addictive nicotine as 20 cigarettes.

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