Is Vaping Harmful for Your Teen
It’s a common sight: Students vaping in the hallways between class. While it isn’t quite the same as smoking, it’s all too familiar to many adults: The pungent odor, the expensive paraphernalia, and the preoccupation that comes to define daily life.
Vaping was introduced for nicotine-addicted adults to help them curb intake of conventional cigarettes, often as part of smoking cessation. Vaping products could help users “do something with their hands” and deliver small amounts of nicotine.
Many responsible adults have made a conscious health choice about vaping. However, the same products have blown up into a dangerous fad among today’s teens and children.
What are the consequences? And what can parents do?
Smoking is Down and Vaping is Up in Public School Classrooms
Smoking is a perennial problem that has affected U.S. youths of school age for decades.
Over the last several years, smoking has declined among kids and teens. There are many reasons for this, not least educational programs that have made the dangers of smoking crystal clear.
At the same time, however, young people are confronting the meteoric rise of vaping and the harmful culture associated with it. FDA experts have called teen vaping “an epidemic.”
In September 2018, regulators kicked into action searching for ways to discourage teen vaping. A ban on flavored vaping products has been proposed along with other measures. However, the problem is already here – and it’s having a profound effect on health.
Vaping Carries Substantial Health Risks for Teens
“Vapes” are not usually free of addictive substances, either. In fact, nicotine content can be much higher than in cigarettes. This is due to the availability of extra strength nicotine cartridges.
Not all health effects of vaping are well-understood. However, researchers have already come to some startling conclusions. Vaping can cause DNA damage. There is good reason to believe long-term risks, such as cancer, are significant in vaping.
With this in mind, parents, educators, and other adults must be alert to the trend.
Vaping Can Be an “Invisible Habit” That’s Difficult for Adults to Detect
Many kids and teens are unaware of risks associated with vaping.
Some young people have said they see vaping as “cleaner” and “safer” than smoking regular cigarettes – they may not even know that tobacco is involved. Vaping is embraced as a social activity, and friends may even share vapes while spending time together as a group.
Although vaping is not yet entrenched in middle school culture, many high school students have been exposed to it. Vaping can be difficult to detect, since the vapor emitted by an e-cigarette is generally colorless and odorless. There is no telltale smell as with cigarettes or marijuana.
A large number of teens sincerely believe that vaping is “no big deal.” However, this won’t stop them from concealing their behavior if they perceive that the adults around them would not approve.
School teachers and administrators have noted an increase in social activities around vaping, especially lingering in school bathrooms and traveling to the bathroom in groups. At home, however, the signs can be even more difficult to detect.
Adults must talk to their teens about vaping and give them the facts. Otherwise, the habit can develop into a full-blown addiction that becomes part of independent adult life.
Vaping and similar behaviors can signal low self-esteem or anxiety. WinGate Wilderness Therapy can help teens overcome these challenges with a healthier perspective and better coping skills.
Contact us to find out more.