As parents, we need to be aware of teen vaping in high school. It’s a widespread epidemic! We have the perfect parent’s guide to teen vaping.
The Vaping Epidemic Sweeping America’s High Schools
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The other night I had a bunch of my son’s friends come over to hang out. We made delicious food together and ate, and I planned that they would probably play some games or something afterward.
Much to my surprise, they didn’t want to play games, they just wanted to sit around and talk. They talked about all kinds of things, dating, classes and high school in general. I was in and out of the room as they hung out. At one point, I walked into the room and they started talking to me. I sat down for a bit to talk with them.
Soon after I sat down, vaping was brought up. I guess you could call me a naive parent. I did not know much about what vaping was. Well, these good kids knew so much about it, including my son! They mentioned how kids are doing it at school on the buses and that it is something that is just done and acceptable.
At that moment, my heart sank… I was naive and had no idea this was going on around my kids. I knew at that point it was time to get smart about what vaping is, and who is vaping!
The Vaping Epidemic is Sweeping the Nation in our High Schools.
What is Vaping?
Vaping is basically an e-cigarette. A person that is vaping is basically inhaling and exhaling aerosol (or vapor) which comes from an e-cigarette or something similar. To vape, you basically have a device that has a mouthpiece, a battery, a cartridge for e-liquid. These are more commonly known as e juice and a heating element. The battery heats up the heating element which then turns the juice into an aerosol, then that is inhaled and then exhaled.
Vaping doesn’t produce tobacco smoke, but it does produce an aerosol which consists of particles that can contain toxic chemicals. These chemicals are linked to cancer, respiratory disease, and heart disease, and maybe even more than we are completely unaware of because of how new vaping is. Vaping is an epidemic sweeping America’s high schools.
E-cigarettes come in many forms. They can look like traditional cigarettes or cigars. But they can also look like everyday objects such as pens. These are becoming more and more popular because they are discrete and can be hidden, especially in high schools.
Each device has a memory stick which is called a Juuls. These are extremely concerning among parents because of the high amounts of nicotine content. Each Juul pod contains 5% nicotine, which equals 1 pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs. Would you believe me if I told you that some high schoolers are smoking through 1 Juul pod a day?
No matter what your kids say, All JULL and Phix contain nicotine.
Yes, it is true! All Jull and Phix contain nicotine. They range from very low to almost 36 milligrams per milliliter. And sadly, companies are targeting our kids by marketing to them with different E-juice flavors. Some of the E-juice flavors are berry punch, cotton candy and mint to get kids to want to try it more. Our kids are Inhaling one of the most addictive substances when they are vaping.
Because of the cool and trendy vaping devices and e-liquid flavors like cotton candy and fruit juice, teens are trying vaping in record numbers. This is a very concerning epidemic that is sweeping the nation!
How Many Kids are Vaping?
There are varying studies out there about how many kids are vaping. But surveys reveal that 2 million middle school and high school students vape often or routinely. Currently, 1 out of every 4 high schoolers is vaping with 10% of 8th graders also admitting they have vaped in the last month.
If the vaping epidemic continues by the time our children graduate high school, 3 out of 5 students will be vaping or would have tried it while in high school.
This is by far the most popular form of smoking among our kids. It is an epidemic sweeping the nation in middle school and in high schools. Some kids are using an entire JULL pod a day (equivalent to an entire pack of cigarettes)
Vaping is an epidemic sweeping the nation that our kids are very familiar with! They have either heard about it, heard others talk about it tried it, or know someone that has tried it. After all, the perception among teenagers is that it is completely safe because it contains no nicotine.
But is Vaping Safe for Our Kids?
Vaping is NOT safe for our kids! When your teenagers say vaping is safe they are wrong! It is not safe to use vape pens or e-cigarettes around kids. These products contain harmful chemicals. If kids drink the liquid in the vape pens or refills kids can get poisoned or even die. If the liquids touch their skin they can also get sick.
E-juice contains nicotine and nicotine is harmful. When a child’s undeveloped brain is exposed to vaping, they are is at a greater risk to become addicted to vaping long term.
The long-term effects of vaping is an increased risk of cancer and can cause other gene mutations. These are only effects that we are aware of. Vaping is such a new epidemic that there really isn’t much research or proof of other health issues it could possibly contribute to or cause.
Nicotine makes it harder for our kids to control their impulses.
Kids are using vaping as a gateway drug. They start by vaping e-juice flavors and move on to harder substances. 9% of students are now using marijuana in a vaping device. This causes long-term effects to learning and memory loss in our youth.
Vaping leads to a nicotine addiction. Unfortunately, most long-term effects are not yet known because of the newness of this. Yes, vaping has fewer chemicals than cigarettes, but it contains the same amount of nicotine, if not more! It may appear less harmful than cigarettes, but it is still harmful, if not more harmful.’
So, Why are High School Kids Vaping?
There are several direct reasons as to why kids are vaping. For adults they are vaping to be able to come off the nicotine slowly that are in cigarettes to eventually kick the habit altogether. For teenagers, this is far from the case. Kids are using vaping as a gateway to consuming tobacco and other drugs. The new trend is to replace e-juice with vaping marijuana.
Kids are vaping to fit in at school and with friends. To be rebellious, but also while feeling like it is “safe enough to do.” Kids are vaping for the sheer entertainment of it as well as the taste.
Seven other major reasons why kids are vaping is the low cost, they think it’s safe, they can do it inside, the odor is pleasant, they are trying to quit cigarettes and they like the social image it portrays to others.
It is a challenge to know if your child is vaping. This is because the vapor disappears quickly and leaves no residue. As parents, we need to talk with our kids about addiction and the risk of nicotine dependence when it comes to vaping.
So What are the Signs that Your Kids are Vaping?
- Increased Thirst. Vaping removes hydration from your skin and mouth causing you to always be thirsty.
- Nosebleeds. This goes along with the hydration being removed from your skin. Also the fact that they are exhaling through their noses.
- Cutting Back on Caffeine
- Dry cough
- Wheezing bronchitis type symptoms
- Shortness of breath difficulty breathing
- Being Really Exhausted
- Rapid Breathing
- Bloodshot eyes
- Irritability if they are having nicotine withdrawals.
- Less Perceptive Taste Buds. Your kids will start to think food lacks flavor and tastes very bland.
- An unexplained sweet smell – if it’s not the scent of their perfume, but they have a sweet aroma surrounding them.
- If you find unfamiliar USB drives, battery chargers or random spare parts. There are replacement parts for different parts of the vape in case they stop working.
Information from here.
What are the Side Effects of Vaping?
- Kids that vape will have immunosuppressive effects similar to actual smokers.
- Dry/ sore mouth
- Tongue Inflammation
- Black Tongue
- Breathing problems
- Chest pain
- Increased Allergies
- Sleepiness or sleeplessness
- Nicotine poisoning
- Popcorn lung – damage to the bronchioles in the lungs
- Formaldehyde and cancer risk
- Heart Attack- Vaping every day is linked to twice the risk of heart attacks and are more likely to have a heartache than those who don’t vape.
- E-cigarettes can explode causing burns and other injuries
- Drinking of e-liquids can be fatal. If your skin, eyes or mouth comes into contact with e-juice it can cause seizures, brain injury, and vomiting.
No matter what your child says vaping is illegal for a minor to possess, buy, or smoke. You must be at least 18 years old.
Will Vaping Show Up on a Drug Test?
Many parents and kids wonder if vaping will show up on a drug test. A general drug test will not reveal the habit of vaping. But, there are two types of tests that can detect nicotine and cotinine (Cotinine is the product your body creates after you have inhaled nicotine.) levels in your system. Nicotine will leave your system 1-3 days after you quit using it, and cotinine will leave anywhere from 1 to 10 days after using.
You can also use hair tests to determine if your child has been vaping. These are more accurate and can be seen in hair 1-3 months later. In some cases, even up to a year later.
Vaping is an Epidemic
There is no other way to put it. Vaping is an epidemic that is sweeping the nation among our teenagers. It is time for parents to get smart about what vaping is and start talking to our teenagers about the risks of vaping. It is hard for parents, law enforcement, and school administrators to address the problem because it is spreading like wildfire.
It is time for us to stand up, talk with others and reach out to our local government to fight in Washington to get tougher laws on the vaping companies so that they stop marketing kids and teenagers with kid flavors and great tastes. Contact your congressman today to stop teenage vaping with tougher laws to help protect our teenagers and kids.
Did this article open your eyes to the dangerous widespread epidemic of teen vaping? Share this parent’s guide with your friends!
Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!