Does your child use e-cigarettes?
According to the Surgeon General, these small devices are increasing in popularity, especially among young adults. The National Youth Tobacco Survey from 2011-2018 estimated that 20% of high school youth vape with e-cigarettes.
Today, nearly one-third of deaths from heart disease are a direct result of smoking or secondhand smoke. Even if your child does not use these products, it’s important to understand the serious health risks of e-cigarette use.
What is “Vaping”?
E-cigarettes heat liquid into an inhalable aerosol. These devices produce very little smoke. The liquid has flavoring, nicotine, and other additives. Harmful additives include heavy metals like lead, nickel, tin, and diacetyl, a chemical directly linked to lung disease. Vape cartridges are often flavored with things like watermelon, cherry, or apple, so they appeal more to young people.
What’s the Health Risk?
During the adolescent years, young adults are undergoing significant growth, especially with brain development. The brain is still growing and developing until age 25, making regular exposure to nicotine dangerous.
E-cigarette use also increases the risk for the following:
● Brain damage: Long-term exposure to nicotine poses significant health threats to young adults, including mood disorders and a permanent decrease in their impulse control. Nicotine changes the way signals are formed in the brain, which can negatively impact your child’s learning and attention span.
● Addiction: During adolescence, the brain is building connections with each new learned skill or memory made. The addictive tendency of vaping can prime a young brain for trying stronger, more illicit drugs. Research suggests that using e-cigarettes also increases the risk of use of other tobacco products like cigars, hookah, or traditional cigarettes.
Talk to Your Teen
Teens often pick up the habit of e-smoking simply due to its convenience and proximity, or social pressure from their peers. It’s important to talk to your teen about the risks involved with vaping and to build a solid community of support around your child with family, friends, and your health care team.
At Broadway Medical Clinic, we are committed to supporting you and your family throughout their health journey. Contact us to schedule an annual Well Child visit, when you and your child can speak with a Broadway physician about important topics like nutrition, sleep, mental health, and e-cigarette use: 503-249-1900.
For more on the clinical risks of e-cigarette use: