Pam Dudding Contributing writer
The Center on Addiction describes Vaping as “the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device.” The term is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that actually consists of fine particles.
J.D. Carlin, a Prevention Specialist at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare and a part of the Craig County Prevention Planning Team (CPPT) and Coalition Team, shared some information from an article from the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition (RAYSAC) which applies to any county.
“Vaping began when adults who wanted to stop smoking cigarettes started using vapes instead. Now, vape use has increased to include all ages, even teens. Some people now use vapes with cigarettes instead of in place of cigarettes, as people now view vape products as recreational instead of a way to quit smoking cigarettes,” Carlin said.
He added, “There are many different forms and brands, JUUL probably being the most well-known, and many vapes are easily hidden or look like everyday items like a USB drive. Vapes are usually battery-operated and allow the user to breathe in an aerosol that usually has nicotine (which we know is highly addictive), flavorings and other chemicals.”
Sadly, RAYSAC added that the middle and high youth are vaping more than ever before, with surveys showing that over 47 percent of high school youth vape as well as over 19 percent of middle school students.
Surveys conducted by the Craig County Schools showed similar results.
That is why the question has been asked many times, “Why is vaping so attractive to youth?”
Vape products can be very easy to obtain despite the recent law change raising the age to 21 for the purchase of all nicotine products, including vapes and cigarettes.
“Vapes are heavily advertised and come in all kinds of flavors that are clearly meant to interest both adults and youth. Vapes are very often thought of as being safer than cigarettes. All of these things make vapes very appealing to youth,” RAYSAC members said.
They added, “Think about it, how many adults really want to vape a flavor called ‘Sour Patch Kidz?’ However, a youth who just got something similar at Halloween or a birthday party could surely be attracted or even just curious about that flavor, especially if they think it does not have nicotine in it.”
They also wrote about “Dabbing,” which has become a more popular way for teens to use marijuana. Noted Carlin, “This can refer to the use of a vape to ingest marijuana concentrates. These concentrates contain THC that is four times stronger than traditionally smoked high-grade marijuana. Most users prefer dabbing because it is smokeless, odorless, easy to hide and it ensures an instant high when heated.”
RAYSAC also noted that vaping has been in the news a lot recently. “As of December 20, 2019, the CDC reports 2,409 hospitalizations and 52 deaths from vaping/e-cigarette related lung illnesses,” Carlin noted from the report. “We need a lot more research, but we know that vaping can cause substantial damage to a person’s lungs and can cause long-term health issues to surface. In fact, the Center for Disease Control strongly suggests not using vape products.”
Their final notes concluded, “While we hope adults will not vape, we want to be sure to emphasize that vaping is especially harmful to youth. Vaping is harmful to a developing brain, is more addicting to teens and pre-teens and should never be done by anyone under the age of 21. Parents, grandparents, and teachers please talk to young people about vaping, and why it is dangerous. Do your best to answer any questions they may have.”
For additional information, visit https://www.centeronaddiction.org/e-cigarettes/recreational-vaping/what-vaping and the CPPT website at www.CraigPPT.org
If you aren’t sure how to talk to young people about vaping, this resource has been suggested: https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/10/health/vaping-kids-parenting-wellness-go-ask-your-dad/index.html