Everything to know about the dangers of vaping & how to help your kids quit

vaping e-cigarettes
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E-smoking related fatalities and illnesses are on the rise across the country and our kids are in danger. According to the Food and Drug Administration, teen vaping is a full-blown epidemic with more than 3.6 million middle and high school students admitting to regularly vaping using electronic cigarettes. As more vaping-related deaths are reported, it is not an exaggeration to say that keeping our kids from vaping is a matter of life and death.

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On Monday, September 30, officials said a Nebraska man was the 14th person to die in a vaping-related death. He died as a result of a lung illness linked to vaping. Just a week before, three e-smoking deaths in Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida were also reported. Then there are all the vaping-related lung conditions being reported to worry about as well. Not to mention that for kids, the nicotine in most e-cigarettes messes with their brain development big time.

But instead of panicking, let's get informed so we can keep our kids from vaping in the first place or help kids who are already vaping stop.

What is vaping?

Basically, an electronic cigarette uses a battery and heating element to turn a what is known as e-liquid or vape juice into a vapor that is then inhaled into the lungs. The liquid contains no tobacco, but it can contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. You can also get some with THC in them, which is the part of marijuana that gets you high.

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Just because it tastes like candy doesn't mean it is candy.

Just because it tastes like candy doesn't mean it is candy.

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Part of what makes vaping so attractive to kids and teens is that the liquids used for vaping come in lots of delicious candy-like flavors, but they are most definitely NOT candy. It's hard to believe that these kinds of flavors weren't deliberately created to attract youngsters.

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How do you know if your child is vaping?

Well, for starters, you can ask them. If they tell you they aren't vaping, but you aren't convinced, then what? Honestly, unless you catch your child in the act it's hard to know if they are vaping, but here are three signs that your child may be vaping:

  1. They step away often to go outside or to the bathroom.
  2. They are short of breath.
  3. They cough a lot and have a hard time exercising.

How do you talk to your children about the dangers of vaping?

Whether or not your children are vaping, you should talk to your children about the dangers, so they can make informed decisions.

Explain to your children that even though e-cigarettes are marketed as a safe alternative to cigarettes and come in candy-like flavors, that they are definitely not safe for kids.

Here's why e-cigarettes are so bad for kids:

  • The nicotine that comes from vaping disrupts their brain development and causes problems with learning, mood, and impulse control. It also makes depression and anxiety worse.
  • Nicotine is highly addictive, which makes it hard to quit.
  • Some brands of e-cigarettes don't contain nicotine, but most do and all of them have all kinds of nasty chemicals in them, including carcinogens.
  • The actual devices can be unsafe and can even explode.
  • We don't even know what the long-term effects of vaping are yet.

 

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The road to quitting is not easy.

The road to quitting is not easy.

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If you find out that your child is vaping, try to stay calm and avoid punishing your child for what may already be an addiction. Instead, talk about the dangers of vaping and create a plan to help the child quit. Child psychiatrist and addiction medicine physician Dr. Joseph Lee says that most kids and teens can do an outpatient treatment, but they may also need mental health counseling.

Keep in mind that your child might have to quit more than once. According to Carol Riccio, the nurse leader for the school district in Newburyport, Massachusetts, you should be patient and supportive throughout the quitting process because for most it is a process. In Riccio's experience, kids try and fail to quit vaping an average of six times.

Does that mean they'll never quit? No, of course not, but it does mean that quitting may not stick the first time. So, don't give up hope or stop supporting your child's efforts to quit.

Topics: deaths  health