(KUTV)- Vape pens come in all different shapes and the tobacco comes in a variety of flavors. No matter what it looks or tastes like, e-cigarettes still contain harmful chemicals and nicotine.
Ryan Bartlett, the Media Coordinator with the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at the Utah Department of Health, sat down to help parents understand to risks of vaping and how to help their children quit.
What is vaping?
- Vaping is the inhalation of aerosol from an electronic cigarette, also known as an E-Cig, or a vape pen.
- The aerosol that is inhaled typically contains a highly addictive substance called nicotine, some type of flavoring to mask the taste, or to make vaping more appealing, and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead, as well as ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deeply into the lungs, some of these chemicals have been known to cause cancer.
What do parents need to know?
1. Parents need to know that vaping is an epidemic, and everyone—including their children—is potentially at risk.
- Nationally, there has been a 78% increase in vaping in the past year.
- In Utah, vaping rates have nearly doubled since 2013.
2. They also need to know that vaping is particularly harmful to anyone under the age of 25 because nicotine has been shown to cause damage to the developing brain.
- The levels of nicotine contained in vaping devices is often alarmingly high. One JUUL pod contains the same amount of nicotine as 20 traditional cigarettes.
- Additionally, many vape juices contain nicotine salts instead of free-base nicotine, which makes the same harmful nicotine, cheaper, more impactful, and easier going down.
3. Vaping devices are often disguised to look like household objects so that they are easier to conceal.
- They can look like anything from an actual pen, to a highlighter, to a tube of lipstick or mascara. JUUL, which is by far the most popular vaping device, looks like a USB flash drive.
4. Vape product manufacturers understand that it’s good business to get people hooked when they’re young. For this reason, they often target youth with bright colors and compelling flavors, like bubblegum, cotton candy, and menthol, that make these products seem more like candy than the harmful, addictive substances they are.
- In fact, 80% of youth and young adults have said that they started using vape and tobacco products that were flavored.
What Can Parents Do?
- Talk to your children. Have open and frank discussions. Help to make them aware of the risks.
- Visit Thetobaccotalk.org for more information.