E-cigs have been a rising trend for a few years, and whilst they have been a revelation for people who have been struggling to quit smoking for many years they aren’t completely without risk- especially for young people. Parents should inform themselves about what e-cigs are, what health impacts they have on teenagers and how to help their teenager to manage it. E-cigs have great valuable when used appropriately by adult users, but nicotine should never be used by someone under 18. Informed parents can help their teenagers to make safe decisions for themselves and their bodies.
What are e-cigs?
E-cigarettes are a battery powered electronic device that contain cartridges filled with fluid known as ‘e-liquids’. These e-liquids usually contain ingredients such as nicotine, flavouring and other food-safe chemicals. The e-cig heats the e-liquid into a vapour, that is then inhaled by the user. This is where the terms ‘vaping’ comes from.
What are the possible health impacts of vaping
E-liquids containing nicotine can be highly addictive and impact on brain development and other functions of the body. Vaping is very new, so researchers don’t yet know much about how it impacts the body over time but we do know a lot about nicotine.
Nicotine is known to be highly addictive substance that can impact on the brain development of teens in particular. Nicotine can affect your teenager’s ability to concentrate or affect their memory.
Nicotine can also increase the likelihood that your teenager will develop other addictions to other substances later on in life.
Nicotine can also irritate the airways or encourage other nicotine use in the form of tobacco products. Sometimes e-cigs are used for other chemicals or drugs, such as THC oil which can have their own health impacts. Parents should ensure they are aware of the risks involved with young people using e-cigs.
How do e-cigs work?
There are a lot of different e-cigarette products on the market, and they all work slightly differently but some of the more popular e-cig’s look like USB flash drive and are charged in USB ports. These types commonly don’t create big vapour clouds, so they can be easier to conceal. They have similar nicotine levels to the average cigarette. These products have replaceable e-liquid cartridges that are heated by a coil mechanism inside the e-cig which create vapour that is then inhaled by the user.
Will you get addicted if you don’t vape every day?
Some people think that if they are irregular users or only use their e-cigs in social situations, they won’t get addicted to nicotine. This is not the case. Everyone is different when it comes to nicotine addiction but some people do get addicted, even if they don’t vape every day. What you should know, is that if you vape regularly you will eventually get addicted, even if it takes you a bit longer.
Should you worry about e-cigs without nicotine?
Whilst e-cigs without nicotine won’t be addictive or as bad four your teenagers health, they still contain chemicals that can irritate the lungs and we don’t yet understand the long term health effects.
What can parents do?
Parents should empower their teenagers to take control of their health and understand the risks that nicotine and vaping can pose to their health.
Parents should take action to share information and research on vaping and nicotine with their children, inform them of safety precautions around e-cigarette use, and encourage teenagers to quit. There are program, websites and support tools that parents can use to help teens with e-cig use.