Teens Who Vape Exposes Them to Harmful Lung-Damaging Chemicals
Whether they vape or not, it’s important for teens to know that this growing trend exposes them to lung-damaging chemicals and can lead to a serious health problem: addiction. Teens are especially vulnerable to addiction because the adolescent brain is still developing. They’re also more likely to experiment with drugs like nicotine, which is very addictive.
In fact, it takes just 10 seconds for nicotine to reach the brain and trigger a surge of dopamine that makes you feel good—and crave more. Many of the e-cigarettes (also known as vapes) on the market contain as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes. Plus, many of these devices are filled with other harmful chemicals, including glycerin and propylene glycol used to make the liquid turn into vapor, as well as flavorings and metals like nickel and tin that can poison you when ingested.
What’s worse, research is only now revealing the full extent of vaping damage. Scientists are finding that the vapor you inhale contains chemicals that can cause disease, including some that can even kill you. These include carcinogens, such as acetaldehyde and formaldehyde; chemicals that can cause lung disease, like acrolein, diacetyl and ethylene glycol; heavy metals like nickel, tin and lead; and tiny particles that can get deep into the lungs and lead to lung injury, asthma and other respiratory conditions that don’t go away.
The e-cigarettes most teens use (including Juul and Puff Bar) aren’t regulated by the FDA, so you may not be able to find any information about how these products are made or what they contain. But you can check out the FDA’s Tobacco Education Resource Library, which has lots of age-appropriate materials and lesson plans for teachers to promote learning and start open discussions with students.
If you’re worried about your teen trying vape, talk to your healthcare provider or therapist. They can help you figure out a quit plan that’s right for you. It’s usually a mix of things: medication, support groups and changing the habits that led to your addiction, such as avoiding places or situations where you normally vape or substituting other activities for it.
It’s also important for adults to take this issue seriously. If kids see that their parents don’t think about vaping as a health risk, they may assume it’s safe or that getting addicted won’t happen to them. But if you’re young and try vaping, your brain is more vulnerable to nicotine addiction, which can have long-term health consequences.
It’s not too late to take action. Ask your doctor about free resources to help you quit, such as online, texting and phone services or apps. Also, let your friends and family know that you’re quitting and can help keep you accountable to stick to your plan. Finally, do things that will help you feel good without vaping, such as exercising or spending time with healthy friends.