February 26, 2020

E-Cigarettes and Teenagers: How Dangerous is Vaping?
The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new-types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern. We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.”

~ Dr. Jerome Adams, VADM, Surgeon General of the United States

The most recent Monitoring the Future survey reports that the number 12th-graders who admit to vaping nicotine within the past month almost doubled this year.

Nearly 21% of high school seniors report past-month vaping, almost doubling last year’s 11%. This is the single largest year-over-year increase in the use of ANY specific substance in the more than 40-year history of the survey.

And when past-year usage is considered, these statistics are of even greater concern. More than a third of seniors and nearly as many sophomores vaped at least once during the past year. Right now, 3.6 million American adolescents and teenagers use e-cigarettes/vaping products.

This includes 1 in 5 high-school students and 1 out of every 20 middle schoolers. In fact, among school-age children, vaping skyrocketed 900% between 2011 and 2015. As a result, the US Surgeon General calls vaping “an epidemic among our nation’s young people”.
E-Cigarettes: NOT Harmless
“E-cigarette vapor often contains airway irritants, carcinogens and formaldehyde, which can cause airways to spasm and worsen asthma. If youth continue to vape in the long-term, they are more likely to develop damage to the respiratory tract and other organs, leading to adverse health consequences over time.”

~ Dr. Crotty Alexander, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of California San Diego  

Most e-cigarette products—vape pens, mods, e-hookahs, Juul, etc.—contain nicotine, one of the most-addictive substances on the planet.  Underage nicotine exposure, when the brain is not yet matured, is severely detrimental and can result in impairments to:

  • Learning
  • Attention
  • Memory

Of special relevance,  because nicotine also affects the brain’s reward process, underage use increases the risk of the abuse of other addictive substances.

Vaping products also contain many other hazardous ingredients:

  • Heavy metals -nickel, lead, and tin
  • Unsafe organic compounds—Benzene, for example, is typically found in automobile exhaust
  • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled and remain in the lungs
  • Diacetyl, a flavoring that has been linked to serious lung disease by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Are Vaping Companies Targeting Teenagers?

“…flavors are a major reason (teens) use these products in the first place.”

~Alex Azar, 0US Health and Human Services Secretary

Despite these risks, companies still market to young people, by offering candy-flavored vape juices and sleek devices that can be hidden from parents and teachers.

This is precisely why the Food and Drug Administration has cracked down, tightening enforcement of rules that prevent underage use. Among the measures that have been proposed are a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes at public retail establishments like gas stations and convenience stores and strengthening the age verification protocols for online purchases.

For instance, California law already prohibits the online sale of e-cigarette/vaping products to anyone under the age of 21. Unfortunately, the verification process is simple to circumvent.  Teens can ask an adult to make the purchase or use the information from an adult’s identification.

Companies are Responding to Pressure

But just the mention tighter rules and proposed bans has already had a positive effect. Juul, the San Francisco-based company that holds more than 80% of the US e-cigarette market, recently announced that it is discontinuing flavored product orders from its retailers until stricter verification protocols are put in place.

CEO Kevin Burns said in November, “As of this morning, we stopped accepting retail orders for our Mango, Fruit, Creme, and Cucumber Juul pods to the over 90,000 retail stores that sell our product, including traditional tobacco retailers (e.g., convenience stores) and specialty vape shops.”

Juul also immediately ceased all social media promotions.

What Does This Mean to YOU as a Parent?

Smoking in ANY form, even vaping, is generally considered a gateway practice that leads to harder substances. For example, 1 in 3 teenagers who vape have done so with marijuana.

This is much more serious than you realize, because unlike smoking, vaping marijuana leaves more of the drug intact. In other words, vaping marijuana results in greater impairment, because of the higher blood concentration of THC. A study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that vaping led to magnified marijuana side effects, such as paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations.

Some cities have changed their municipal codes:

  • Banning electronic smoking device in public places
  • Prohibiting the marketing such devices and related products to minors
  • Restricting the allowable proximity between vape shops or marijuana dispensaries and schools
  • Forbidding anyone younger than 21 from entering vape or tobacco shops without a parent or legal guardian

Unfortunately, some parents mistakenly think that vaping is a safer alternative to cigarettes.  If this was you, this problem may already be putting your teenager at risk.  If you are concerned about your child’s use of electronic vaporizers, or if that use has led to the use of other drugs, Teensavers Treatment Centers can help.

Since 1978, Teensavers has provided comprehensive substance abuse treatment for teenagers and families struggling with addictive disorders.  And as one of the most-trusted drug rehabs for teens in Orange County, Teensavers helps your teenager regain their sobriety and your family regain its balance.

For more information, contact Teensavers TODAY.

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