Is vaping dangerous? Should parents encourage their teens to quit vaping during or after recovery? The standard argument against this is that vaping “isn’t as bad” as cigarettes, marijuana, or worse. And while this is technically true, it’s also not good for your child either. We’re here to discuss five dangers of vaping for you and your teen to be aware of before it’s written off as harmless and cool.
1. Unknown Chemicals
We aren’t advocating for tobacco leaves, but at least it is an organic compound that we can see, touch, and feel, right? On the other hand, the chemicals inside vapes and e-cigarettes are unknown to us. Not only are we putting a foreign chemical into our body when we vape, but it’s also hard to definitively say the amount of risk it poses. Each cartridge is different, as is each brand and flavor.
2. Illicit Substance Additives
Besides the nicotine and unknown chemicals, we get in typical vape cartridges, the risk of adding illicit substances to the blend is high. THC can be added to the vape in higher-concentrated doses (which is risky enough alone), but what makes this even worse when vaping is the flavored vapor that masks the smell and taste. This creates a perfect storm for concealed use and overuse of THC.
3. Vaping Impacts Brain Development
Nicotine is harmful to brain development in large amounts, especially in adolescents when this development is at its highest. Areas of the brain like neurotransmitters are slowed down and can even be broken with regular smoking or vaping. Since nicotine is addictive, it makes the slide to regular and overuse even more risky. Once you pick up the habit, it’s hard to stop–even when it’s hurting your brain.
4. Long-Term Lung Damage
Vaping comes with adverse health effects to the lungs after continued use. Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath can all start to affect your teen after a few weeks or months of vaping, and these symptoms worsen over time. Lungs should be clear of excess substances to allow for proper airflow. Filling them with chemicals and water vapor causes an excess strain as they expel the foreign materials.
5. Marketing and Media Influence
The sleek pod, the multitude of flavors, the “tricks” kids can do with vapor–all of these things create the perfect storm of unhealthy marketing to young adults. The visibility isn’t placed on the dangers of vaping and nicotine like a pack of cigarettes; the market focuses on the aspects that draw in younger and younger wallets. The misconception and misinformation surrounding vaping are some of the most dangerous aspects of it today. When it’s the cool thing to do, kiddos don’t realize the harm.
So, when discussing vaping with your teen, keep these five dangers in mind: unknown chemicals, illicit substance additives, impaired brain development, long-term lung damage, and the marketing and media of vaping. The goal is to provide knowledge so that your family can have an informed conversation. It’s time to discuss the harmful parts of vaping that are so often left out and that your kiddo may not even have considered.
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