Teen vaping, also known as e-cigarette use, is thankfully on the decline, yet some vaping statistics paint a disturbing picture. Many parents are concerned but don’t know how to approach their teens with this important conversation. It’s also important to know how vapes were created in order to help heavy smokers cease their habits and slowly decrease their smoking rates. Yet, when teens start to vape they aren’t starting from a smokers POV, which can be their gateway towards a full fledged nicotine addiction.
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, more adolescents failed to quit smoking in 2020 than in any of the previous 13 years. While the number of teens trying cigarettes decreased from 70 percent in 1991 to 28.9 percent in 2017, both cigarette and e-cigarette (or vaping) use among teens has still remained a troubling topic, as they’re easy to pick up and don’t have all of the same negative connotations of traditional smoking.
In 2020, the CDC confirmed 2,807 cases of e-cigarette-associated lung injury, or EVALI, and 68 deaths. The pandemic initially caused e-cigarette sales to decrease, but reports now show rising rates of daily e-cigarette use. Over 2 million U.S. middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2021.
E-cigarettes may be particularly appealing to young people:
- Teens believe vaping is less harmful than smoking
- E-cigarettes have a lower per-use cost than traditional cigarettes
- They find the lack of smoke appealing and it can be easier to hide
While many parents are concerned about kids vaping, less than half of the middle school and high school parents can identify a JUUL device. Vaping devices can look like watches, USB drives, pens, or markers.
Vaping side effects or telltale signs:
- Fruity smells
- Trouble breathing
- Unexplained cough
- Mouth sores, increased thirst
- Increased irritability and mood swings
There are many dangers of vaping, including various forms of cancer. Nicotine can slow brain development in teens and affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention, and mood.
E-cigarette advertising is largely unregulated and almost 80 percent of middle and high school students have been exposed to at least one vaping advertisement. While in most states the minimum age of sale for e-cigarettes is 21, previously aged 18, yet many get their device from friends, family, or online dealers. While JUUL pods contain 59mg/ml of nicotine, which is similar to the nicotine contained in 20 cigarettes, many adolescents don’t consider JUULs to be e-cigarettes and 63 percent wrongly think JUUL pods contain no nicotine.
E-cigarettes can be just as addictive as cigarettes, especially for teens. Adolescents who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke cigarettes later in life and are to use marijuana in the next two years.
How to stop vaping:
- Decide why you want to quit
- Pick a day to stop vaping and put it on the calendar
- Get rid of all vaping supplies
- Understand what to expect with withdrawal
- Identify and avoid triggers
A spring 2022 law will tighten regulations around vaping products if they fail to receive authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. It amends the definition of a “tobacco product” in order to close a synthetic nicotine loophole, potentially having an enormous effect on e-cigarette producers.
It’s important to talk to your teen about e-cigarettes. Get the conversation started and learn how to help them quit vaping with this CDC tip sheet. Cove provides comprehensive mental health services with a focus on substance abuse and addiction disorders as well as all mental health issues for teens and adults. If you have a young person or family member that you are concerned about, contact us today at www.covebh.org or call us 813-384-4000.