Vaping: The Fastest Growing Tobacco Trend Among Our Youth
What is vaping? Vaping is the act of inhaling vapor through the mouth from a usually battery-operated electronic device (such as an electronic cigarette) that heats up and vaporizes a liquid or solid. The website Vaping Daily states, “A vaporizer usually consists of battery, main console or housing, cartridges, and atomizer or cartomizer. The battery generates the power for the heating element in the atomizer or cartomizer, which contacts the vaping material and transforms it into vapor for inhalation. The majority of people who vape use e-liquids, but other common materials include waxy concentrates and dry herbs. Different vaporizers support the vaping of different materials. For example, e-liquids vaporizers have a cartridge or tank, while a dry herb vaporizer will have a heating chamber. Multipurpose vaporizers allow you to vape different materials simply by switching cartridges.” Two men are credited for the invention of vaping. They are Herbert A. Gilbert in 1963 and Hon Link, a Chinese pharmacist, in 2003 (Canadavapes.com).
There are continued disputes over the harmful/health effects of vaping. What there isn’t any controversy about is the exponential rise in teens who have tried e-cigarettes (Vape Pens). According to the U.S. Surgeon General, between 2011 and 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students increased by 900 percent, with more teens now using e-cigarettes than cigarettes. In a webpage from the CDC in January 2017, “E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth in the U.S. And dual use, or using both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes, is common among youth and young adults 18-25 years of age. Reasons reported by young people for using e-cigarettes include curiosity, taste, and the belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than other tobacco products.”
A CNN article updated in February 2017 about teens using e-cigarettes for “dripping” (a more labor-intensive method of vaping in which the user manually applies a few drops of liquid directly to the exposed heating coil of the e-cig every so many puffs) states that it is true that, compared to traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes lack many of the toxic chemicals, but there are many unknowns about the short term and long term use with them. There are many other chemicals and flavorings added to these new devices and their effects are also unknown.
Studies are showing that like cigarette smoking, vaping also has second hand exposure risks.
In addition, nicotine which is contained in many e-cigarettes has harmful effects on the developing youth mind. An article written by Alec Rosenberg from the University of California lists ten things people should know about vaping which includes the injuries vapers receive from the explosion of vaping batteries.
In August 2016, the FDA began to apply and enforce key provisions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act as it relates to the sales, marketing and manufacturing of e-cigarettes. With this FDA’s mandate, all e-cigarette manufactures have two years to register with the FDA per an article from the American Lung Association entitled, “E-cigarettes and Lung Health.”
In working with our youth, we can impact their decisions related to vaping and tobacco use. As stated in “E-Cigarettes and Young People: A Public Health Concern” written by the CDC, we can restrict e-cigarette use around this generation, visit tobacco free locations, have policies in educational places like DCSD to be tobacco free, have tobacco free homes, and to be a tobacco-free example. In addition, the American Lung Association states, “e-cigarettes should be included in smokefree policies; flavorings in tobacco products should be prohibited; access to e-cigarettes by youth should be reduced through actions like Tobacco 21 measures, price and tax increases; and efforts to educate young people about the dangers of e-cigarettes and all tobacco products should be undertaken.”
The Prevention and School Culture department teaches an Anti-Tobacco Information class within its Life Skills curriculum and also goes to schools upon request to teach this class which focuses on the many dangers of smoking and vaping. As the trend to vape continues to rise in our country, we need to educate ourselves and our youth so that they are empowered to make healthy decisions.