The FDA has recently called youth vaping and e-cigarette use an “epidemic.” According to the 2017 results of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, these claims are not exaggerated: 40.6% of students in DPS have used a vaping device at some point in their life. In addition, 57% of DPS students do not think that daily vaping is harmful.
Know the Facts
Although the majority of students at DPS believe that vaping does not cause harm, there are many health risks associated with using a vaping product. Vaping juices contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance, and vaping devices contain harmful metals and cancer causing elements.
Other harmful effects of vaping are:
- Worsening of asthma and other lung diseases
- Poor memory and attention
- Recent research suggests that cardiovascular health may be impacted from the chemicals in the vape juices
- Impacts on Oral health such as:
- Bad breath
- Tooth pain
- Tooth loss
The vaping device is also dangerous. Vape devices can overheat and explode. In some cases, individuals have died after being significantly burned or from having shrapnel lodged into their skull.
The ultimate message is that vaping is not healthy nor is it safe. It should not be seen as a healthy alternative to smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes and vaping devices are equally addictive and cause many health problems.
Signs your child may be Vaping
- Sweet or minty smell- Unlike cigarettes, vaping devices, do not leave behind the lingering smell of tobacco. You may smell a sudden sweet or minty odor that disappears quickly. Common vape pen flavors are bubble gum, cotton candy, mint, vanilla and fruit punch.
- Unfamiliar gadgets- Many vaping devices resemble a flash drive or pen. If you come across a pen that is not a pen or other unfamiliar gadget, be aware that it could be a vaping device. Keep an eye out for batteries and chargers- just like you have to charge your smartphone every single day, vaping devices need to be charged on a regular basis.
- Increased thirst- Vapors from these devices are made of VG (Vegetable Glycerin), PG (Propylene Glycol), and flavors. The chemicals of PG cause it to attract water molecules from its surroundings. This will make the mouth very dry and lead to increased thirst
What you can do
Parental involvement is the number one way to prevent risky behavior in teens. It is important that you make time to talk to your child about the risks associated with vaping. Even though it may not always seem like it, your values and opinions matter to your child.
Students who know that their parents disapproved of drugs and alcohol were 72% LESS likely to use them. For tips on how to talk to your child about difficult topics visit speaknowcolorado.org.
If you are concerned that your student has already experimented with vaping or has other health related concerns, you should reach out to the nursing staff at your child’s school, a school based health clinic or get in touch with your student’s health care provider.