Risks of E-cigarettes and Use of Vape Products for Adolescents
What is an E-Cigarette?
E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it, and other additives. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive. E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.
Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes may contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:
- ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease
- volatile organic compounds
- heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead
Adolescent years are times of important brain development. Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25. Exposure to nicotine during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.
E-cigarettes are very popular with young people. Their use has increased dramatically in the last five years. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes.
Reasons that e-cigarettes and vaping are dangerous:
Science shows that e-cigarettes contain ingredients that are addictive and could harm different parts of your body.
The Surgeon General reported that nicotine is addictive and can harm your brain development(which continues to develop until age 25), making it more vulnerable to addiction. Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can change your brain to make you crave more nicotine. Nicotine can even train the brain to be more easily addicted to other drugs like meth and cocaine. It can also affect your memory and concentration and impulse control.
E-cigarettes contain chemicals that are harmful. When people use e-cigarettes, they breathe in tiny particles that can harm their lungs. Studies have shown that heavy metal and carcinogens are in the vapors.
The cloud that people exhale from e-cigarettes can expose you to chemicals that are not safe to breathe. There is also thirdhand smoke, the residue from the aerosol than can land on surfaces and cause harm.
Adolescents that use vape products are placing themselves in the role of human guinea pigs. These are relatively new products and the long term research is not available yet. When cigarette first came on the market people thought they were safe and we have learned that this was false information.
Example of a Juul, the most popular vaping device among teens. It looks like a flash drive and is easy to conceal. It uses juul pods which always contain nicotine. One small Juul pod has the same amount of nicotine as in a pack of cigarettes. The pods come in a variety of flavors that appeal to youth.
Examples of e-cigarettes and vaping devices. The vape pens are refillable with e-liquid, vape juice or any type of drug that can be in a liquid or oil form such as marijuana concentrates. Some of the vaping devices are also designed to burn leaf marijuana.
Examples of vape mods. These can be adjusted to burn hotter and youth can make larger smoke clouds. Studies have shown that hotter vapes and clouds can have more heavy metals in the vapors. The batteries have also been known the ignite and catch fire. This type of vape is often used to burn marijuana concentrates such as oils and wax.
Examples of e juice or vape liquid. Most of them contain nicotine. They come in a variety of flavors including fruit loops, gummy bear and unicorn milk. The flavors are created to attract youth to purchase the products.
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