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Help! My teenager is vaping! Why this is a high-level parenting emergency

Over the last decade, vaping has surged in popularity, becoming the most popular consumer alternative to cigarettes. Plus, it has also become the most common product used by individuals who want to quit smoking — though that may not be an effective means. Thus, E-cigarettes used for vaping are rapidly replacing smoking. However, with its growing popularity, there’s a problematic category of customers: curious teens.

To keep adolescents away from vapor products, regulators and legislators have adopted ways to curb them. For instance, the most prevalent is restricting the minimum age to purchase vape items. Initially, this seemed like a superb idea. However, it has not been proven so. Even doctors have ruled that out as a safe option. Therefore, parents have to stay vigilant and prepared to have some difficult conversations in order to nip a potential problem early on.

Is it ok to let my kid vape?

Because of the adverse effects and addictive quality, it is not a good idea to allow a kid to vape. Aside from the risk of heart attack or stroke, the nicotine alone has proven to be a highly addictive substance. Plus, kicking this addiction also proves to be a challenge since both nicotine and marijuana create cravings that are almost impossible to be stopped.

Furthermore, any attempts to control or stop nicotine alone or combined with THC consumption can bring about various symptoms, ranging from difficulty concentrating, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, depressed mood up to anger, frustration, insomnia, diarrhea, and constipation. So, the best solution would be to start this habit at all.

Moreover, vaping is extremely concerning as teens’ brains are still in the development stage, up to the age of 25. Once a developing brain is exposed to any addictive drug, in this case, nicotine and possibly THC, the possibility of permanent alterations is high which affects cognitive function and decision-making.

Teen boy sitting and vaping

Is it wrong for a 16-year-old to vape?

As mentioned, vaping at a young age carries many negative, long-term effects. In fact, the director of clinical research at Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center, Dr. Michael Blaha, gives his views on the health effects of vaping and outlines the dangers associated with this practice, particularly those related to severe injuries to the lungs. As he mentions, nicotine in the e-cigarette turns into an aerosol because of the heating process that occurs when a person lights up. In turn, the chemical is inhaled. He also discusses a sobering stat.

In 2020, a record of 68 deaths was caused by vaping alone in February. It proves that it is not as safe as it sounds. It has to lead to doctors advising that no foreign substance be added to the e-cigarettes during consumption.

Like smoking, vaping contains substances, nickel, tin, and lead that damage the heart and lungs as you might already know. However, the liquids also contain nickel, lead, tin, formaldehyde, and acrolein, which damage all types of organ tissue. Plus, there’s a worry that some cartridges that aren’t necessarily store-bought could contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that causes the high.

Furthermore, the combination of all these chemicals cause the body to go into an inflammatory state, thus increasing the risk of developing blood clots. This, in turn, causes a stroke or heart attack even in a young person who has no history of heart trouble or lung issues.

In short, this habit is dangerous for a 16-year-old. For one thing, vaping damages the brain which is developing until the age of 25. The chemicals cause more wear on the neurons which means that a teen may start experiencing dementia at a very young age. It will eventually slow their growth. Plus, it exposes them to other harmful drugs since the vaping devices can be laced with other substances.

What is the recommended age to vape?

In countries with the highest vaping market, like the United States, 21 is the legal age for being able to purchase vaping products. Nonetheless, despite vaping being suggested as an alternative to smoking, it is hazardous and can cause harm or even death.

All in all, parents can and should warn their teens about the dangers of vaping. Having all of the necessary information about the risks can help start the conversation about why this habit isn’t just another phase or right of passage into adulthood. The hazards are real and even worse in some cases, irreversible.

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