HKQ Kids

Vaping – Not Just Another Passing Trend

Upon first glance, the use of electronic cigarettes (often referred to as vaping) may seem like just another passing trend. However, the usage of e-cigarettes has continued to increase over the past few years and has become increasingly common among middle and high schoolers. It’s important to know what vaping is, why it’s so appealing to teens, and how to recognize if your child is participating in it.

For those that are unfamiliar, vaping is when vapor is inhaled via an e-cigarette; oftentimes the vapor is produced by a liquid (sometimes called e-juice) stored inside a cartridge in the e-cigarette. E-cigarettes are often presented as an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. E-cigarettes can also lead to nicotine addiction, which is especially problematic in younger users; vaping may actually serve as a gateway to tobacco cigarettes instead of acting as an alternative.

Like regular cigarettes and alcohol, e-cigarettes cannot legally be sold to or used by minors. Of course, these products still find their way into the hands of young teenagers; one vaporizer in particular known as JUUL is the most popular due to its discreet design and variety of available flavors including mango and creme. The vaporizer’s design is similar to that of a USB flash drive, making it easy to miss among a typical pile of teenage belongings. Additionally, much of JUUL’s advertising has presented the product as sleek, fun, and lifestyle-oriented, often featuring bright colors and young models and frequently stressing that vaping is a more health-conscious alternative to smoking.

Preventing and Recognizing Vaping:

  1. Keep an eye out for small parts and appliances that seem out of the ordinary. E-cigarettes are composed of multiple parts, so unfamiliar cartridges and wires lying around the house can point to e-cigarette usage. Vaporizers like JUULs charge with a magnetic dock, so be on the lookout for these chargers as well.
  2. Vaping causes the user to dehydrate, sometimes to a noticeable degree. If your teen exhibits a more frequent intake of liquids (to combat dry mouth) or has experienced nosebleeds, (a result of a dry nose) it may be a sign that they’re vaping.
  3. Most importantly, have an honest discussion with your kids about the potential side-effects of vaping; they may not have even considered that it could be dangerous. Point out that the amount of nicotine in a JUUL pod is the equivalent of the amount in 20 cigarettes, which can leave your teen susceptible to addiction.
  4. Also note that since the brain continues to develop into our mid-twenties, using nicotine could hinder the brain’s development.
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