According to the US Food and Drug Administration, over the past several years, e-cigarettes were the most commonly used tobacco product by youth. In fact, more than 2 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2017.
The FDA now believes that youth use of e-cigarettes is reaching epidemic proportions. This belief is based on not just the results of the agency’s enforcement actions, but also recent sales trends, news coverage, increased concerns among kids, parents and educators, as well as preliminary data that will be finalized and released by the FDA in the coming months. This use by children and teens is especially concerning to the FDA because the developing adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction.
E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called “vaping” or “JUULing.”
How to talk to your teen about vaping
Know the facts.
- Research vaping online from credible sources.
- Become familiar with the the latest terminology.
Be patient and ready to listen.
- Avoid criticism and encourage dialogue.
- The goal is to have a conversation, not deliver a lecture.
- It is ok to have conversations over time, in bits and pieces.
Find the right moment. A more natural discussion will increase the likelihood that your teen will listen. Bring up the topic when:
- Someone who is vaping nearby.
- You pass an e-cigarette store or retail display.
- See or hear an e-cigarette advertisement.
Set a positive example by being tobacco-free.
- If you use tobacco, it is never too late to quit.
What are the dangers of vaping & e-cigarettes?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.
- E-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.
- Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain, which continues to develop until past the age 25.
- Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused some fires and explosions, a few of which have resulted in serious injuries.
- Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.
- Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
- Many young people who use e-cigarettes also smoke cigarettes. There is some evidence that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
In addition to the health risks associated with vaping, student caught vaping or in possession of vaping paraphernalia at school will be suspended. If an illegal substance is found in conjunction with the paraphernalia, students will be referred to local law enforcement.