In the 21st century, hardly anyone would argue that cigarettes and tobacco are bad. A widely acknowledged fact, the dangers of smoking have led to tobacco regulation. Unfortunately, however, there is a new criminal on the streets: teen vaping. Unlike regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes have a rather “harmless” reputation. Since they do not contain tobacco, many consider them to be a healthy replacement for smoking. Moreover, even the FDA has (as of yet) little to say on the subject of teen vaping. Research, on the other hand, has much to contribute to the discussion.
Nancy Campbell-Heider, PhD, a University at Buffalo addictions and high-risk adolescent behavior expert says, “[teen] vaping is a dangerous drug since you are inhaling nicotine, which is highly addictive and a gateway to other drugs and combustible cigarette use. This is not a safe alternative to smoking”. Although teen vaping may not contain the tars found in tobacco, the nicotine alone can cause long-term damage – as any of the horses killed by a drop of nicotine can attest. The lack of teen vaping education is one of the most alarming factors: even doctors rarely ask for e-cigarette use history during check-ups. Most people simply do not view them as cigarettes or drugs – which has let them slip by unnoticed.
Teen Vaping Leads to Addiction
As Campbell-Heider suggested, “Teens are also more prone to severe addiction than adults. That’s why getting them to not experiment with drugs is so important.” To make matters worse, since the teenage brain is still developing. Teens who start vaping are far more likely to develop an addiction down the line – and, even by themselves, the byproducts of e-cigarettes can cause numerous harmful effects. Studies show that e-cigarette users have a 30% higher chance of developing respiratory problems compared to non-users.
Teen vaping is not the friendly habit that it claims to be. With the lack of knowledge about the full range of consequences, it is easy for even healthy-minded teens to engage in vaping without considering themselves at risk. Peer pressure and word-of-mouth make teens all the more likely to experiment with e-cigarettes. As a parent, acting early is crucial – as with regular smoking, the longer the habit goes in, the harder it will be to kick. If you suspect your teen is using e-cigarettes, it is vital to discuss the matter.
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