E-cigarette use has increased throughout the years, especially among our teenage population. Today, we are in the midst of a youth vaping epidemic. Many believe that vaping is better than smoking cigarettes, but in reality, both negatively affect the health of the user as well as the health of those around them.
Yes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) have fewer harmful chemicals than normal cigarettes, but less harmful does not mean harmless. There are still over 70 different harmful chemicals in the average vaping device, including those found in car exhaust fumes, rat poison, and embalming fluid.
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances we know about, at least as much as heroin! The physical health impacts of high and long-term exposure to nicotine is well documented, including mood disorders, lack of stamina, and heart problems. Not only do ENDS users experience physical symptoms, but they can also experience mental health symptoms. Did you know vaping can worsen symptoms of depression, which can increase the likelihood of nicotine addiction?
Vaping devices are specifically designed to give a strong and rapid “hit” from the nicotine, which is the reason for many of the harmful ingredients within them. The nicotine dose from the average vaping device is many times that of a cigarette. That’s why it is questionable as to whether they can be used for tobacco cessation support, another dubious claim which isn’t supported by science or health administrations around the world.
Second-hand vaping is a real thing! Just like second-hand smoking, second-hand vaping causes others nearby to inhale the toxic chemicals released by these products. It can even stay on your clothes and possessions and subject others to “third-hand” vaping – did you know it takes an average of six laundry cycles to wash vape chemicals out of your clothes?
Without even realizing it, some teens end up peer-pressuring their friends, directly or indirectly, to vape with them so that they can “look cool”. Marketing by today’s vaping companies, most of whom are at least part-owned by Big Tobacco, looks very similar to what previous generations were subjected to when it came to smoking cigarettes – marketing which seeks to make it socially desirable, and either underplays the health effects, or makes unsupported claims about supposed health benefits of their products.
Our Teen Health Educators know that vaping isn’t cool! Today we are celebrating Not A Lab Rat Day to raise awareness of the youth vaping epidemic. Our SWAT Club will be busy sharing important information to educate our youth about vaping and ENDS, helping them make positive, healthy decisions to live happier and successful lives.
It’s never too late to quit! There are many great resources available to help you through the process. You can text DITCHVAPE to 88709, join Group Quit with Gulfcoast South AHEC by calling 866-534-7909, or talk to a Quit Coach from Tobacco Free Florida by calling 877-822-6669.