Thank you to Colorado Department of Health and Environment for partnering with me to bring you information about Colorado Teens and Vaping.
Have you had the talk with your kids? I’m not talking about the birds and the bees, while important, there are also other talks that need to be addressed with your kids – like vaping.
Having a teen is stressful and there is so much to watch out for when it comes to raising them. They want their independence, they’re figuring out who they are, they want to do what their friends are doing, and emotions all around are elevated. My oldest just turned 16 and he’s at the prime age for getting into teenage shenanigans. I know the shenanigans that I got into as a teen and it’s something that I want to avoid for him, like getting pregnant, drinking, and vaping.
Vaping has risen a lot in popularity over the last several years. I know several people who do it, including my brother at one point, and I’ve always been leary of it. To me it just didn’t seem that much safer than smoking and more and more reports are coming out that it’s not safe and potentially just as harmful than smoking cigarettes.
What is Vaping
Vaping is the act of inhaling a vaporized liquid from an electronic device. The vapor commonly contains nicotine, flavoring and other additives. It also can contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes the user feel “high.”
Popular terms for vaping devices include JUULs, e-cigarettes, e-cigs, smokeless cigarettes, vaporizers, vape, vape pens, vapor pens, mods, tanks, cigalikes, e-hookah and hookah pens. These vary widely in size, shape and design. Some look like computer flash drives or highlighters, while others are bulky and box-like.
Vape products can be hard to spot in your child’s backpack since they can look like some of their school supplies and they don’t have the obvious odor like smoking cigarettes and marijuana. One of the worst parts is that these products are made to taste like bubble gum, strawberry, and many more enticing flavors for kids.
Effects on Our Kids
Many people think vaping is safer than smoking and there is less harm with it, but that just isn’t true. Especially for youth. Those big puffy vape clouds aren’t just water vapor. Studies have shown that the aerosol vapor can contain dangerous toxins, including heavy metals and chemicals known to cause cancer.
It’s not harmless, and it’s not just water vapor. It may contain toxins, potentially cancerous agents and dangerous chemicals, like diacetyl, which is known to cause a fatal lung disease called popcorn lung.1 It most often contains a combination of propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and flavorings and nicotine.
Vaping can also cause health problems including wheezing, coughing, sinus infections, nosebleeds, shortness of breath and asthma. Young people who took up vaping were more than four times more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes a year later, according to one study. Nicotine can essentially re-wire the brain, causing addiction, and it can create lasting behavioral impairments including effects on memory and attention.
Vaping in Colorado
Did you know that about half of Colorado high schools students have tried vaping nicotine? In fact, Colorado teens vape at a rate nearly two times the national average (per the CDC) — more than teens in any other state, according to the 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado survey.
In response to this growing health concern, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is helping parents and other adults who spend time with teens understand the risks of youth vaping, and prepare them to have informed conversations with teens about it.
Talk to Your Kids
As adults, you can help prevent further harm to our teens by learning about the most common vaping devices, the myths associated with vape and the best ways to start a conversation. Sit down and have the vaping talk with your kids. Explain the dangers, ask them what they know about it, and encourage them to not fall into peer pressure.
Learn more and vaping get helpful tools to have your talk at tobaccofreeco.org.