Vaping and Teens: What Parents Should know

Source: Partnership for Drug Free Kids (

A recent study indicates that nearly one in three 12th graders reported using a vaping device in the past year — making it imperative that parents are informed about vaping: the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol/vapor produced by a vape pen or e-cigarette.

It’s become more popular among teens than regular cigarettes, thanks to vaping devices being marketed to teens with flavorings like mango, mint or tutti frutti and even nicotine or THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that produces the high. Vaping is also often sold as a “safer” alternative to cigarettes, giving the false assumption that because e-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco, they’re safe.

Inhaling from a vape pen or e-cigarette, especially in the case of one containing nicotine or THC, can enhance a drug user’s high and can amplify its side effects. Even beyond nicotine and THC, synthetic chemicals – including “herbal incense” like spice and synthetic marijuana – expose the lungs to a variety of chemicals, which could include carcinogens and toxic metal nanoparticles from the device itself.

Findings have concluded that the risk of smoking increases four times if a teen vapes versus a teen that does not. Another study of more than 2,000 10th graders found that one in five teens who reported a regular vaping habit at the start of the study smoked traditional cigarettes at least three times a month by the end of the study period.

One of the slang terms for vaping is JUULing (“jeweling”), from the JUUL brand vaping device that looks more like a flash drive as opposed to an e-cigarette:

If you think your son or daughter is vaping, take a deep breath and set yourself up for success by creating a safe, open and comfortable space to start talking with your son or daughter. Explain that young people who use THC or nicotine products in any form, including e-cigarettes or vaporizers, are uniquely at risk for long-lasting effects.

Because these substances affect the development of the brain’s reward system, continued use can lead to addiction, as well as other health problems. Find out why vaping might be attractive to your son or daughter, and work with him or her to replace it with a healthier behavior.

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