Vaping was designed as an aid to help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes, and it has helped many people quit the harmful habit. Unfortunately, the intended “healthier alternative” has also contributed to millions of teenagers getting hooked on nicotine for potentially the rest of their lives.
Some important things to know about nicotine and the teenage brain:
- It tricks the brain into actually craving harmful chemicals.
- It permanently alters the way brain synapses are developed, which can harm the parts of the brain that control focused attention.
- It can also cause mood disorders and permanently lower impulse control.
Buckle up — we’re just getting started.
E-cigarettes also have a flavoring that can contain chemicals linked to lung disease. They have benzene (which is found in car exhaust), not to mention toxic metals like nickel, tin, and lead. Vaping can also often contain other toxic chemicals like acrylonitrile, propylene oxide, and crotonaldehyde.
Teenagers who vape will likely use other tobacco products like regular cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. They are more than four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes within 18 months than those who don’t vape.
Do you know how many teenagers used e-cigarettes in 2022 alone?
According to the CDC, more than two and a half million.
Those are 2.5 million kids who are now much more likely to struggle with a lifetime of addiction issues. And many of them are preventable.
90% of lifelong addiction struggles start during the teen years.
If you’d like to dig deeper into vaping, read our in-depth article: Everything You Need To Know About This Risks Of Vaping.
What can you do to prevent this?
For parents and educators who care about kids, we can start with awareness and focus on education. Most kids have faulty ideas about the dangers of vaping, and we can correct that. We can share the facts with them, not in a one-time conversation but reinforced through several conversations over time.
Show kids this 3-minute video from Natural High Storyteller, PhD and Comedian, Matt Bellace where he lays out the truth about vaping and encourages the younger generation ‘not to be the experiment’ in big tobacco’s newest effort to sell harmful products.
We can be watchful, too. Research shows that parental monitoring of our kids’ whereabouts, relationships, and activities is a protective factor against harmful substance use.
Most importantly, we can be healthy role models, avoiding e-cigarette use ourselves since what gets modeled often gets repeated.