Seeing through the Vapor, E-Cigarettes

What are e-cigarettes? They are battery-operated, vapor-filled devices that users can “puff on”, much like traditional cigarettes. These contraptions literally deliver flavors and various chemicals to users. E-cigarettes contain an inhalable aerosol (vapor) which contains the highly dangerous and addictive chemical, nicotine.What is vaping? That’s the actual act of “puffing on”, “hitting” or inhaling e-cigarette vapors. Users like the illusion of smoke coming from the vapors, which make them feel as if they’re smoking regular cigarettes. Teens love this, plus the fact that they’re simple to access and have no order their parents will recognize, making them a growing problem among adolescents.
Many parents let their kids slide on using vapors simply because they believe them to be safe. But, this is a dangerous misconception.
What Makes E-Cigarettes Dangerous?
In the beginning, most consumers were led to believe that e-cigarettes are nicotine-free. This is a myth. They do contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive chemical which poses great health risks. And, when the heat from the vapor e-cigarette meets the nicotine, it turns into freebase form, a more addictive form of the dangerous chemical.
These vapors also contain preservatives and chemically-produced flavorings that the FDA has deemed “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). But, when the FDA gave them this rating, it did not include the effects of actually inhaling the vapors. Recently, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that about 10% of high school kids have used e-cigarettes. You can be sure most, if not all, inhaled.
What Do You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes as a Parent?
•    Nicotine stunts the development of the brain in youth.
•    Vapors come in many candy flavors, making them extremely appealing to adolescents.
•    As parents, you have to know the signs of vaping because there’s no distinguishable odor, like smoking tobacco. Some of the signs include dry cough, irritated mouth and throat.
From 2011 to 2012, the number of youth-aged e-cigarette users doubled, within that one year. This year, the CDC reports a total of about 1.78 million adolescent e-cigarette users in the US. Also, 76.3% of all middle to high school vaporing tweens and teens have also smoked traditional cigarettes.
How to Stop Your Teen from Vaping E-Cigarettes
The first thing you need to do is communicate with your kids about how you feel about smoking. They should know that you’re against them smoking anything whatsoever, including e-cigarettes, regular cigarettes and marijuana. Here are some other tips:
•    Educate your kids about the addictive and dangerous chemicals contained in e-cigarettes, including nicotine.
•    Make sure you know exactly what they look like. That way, you immediately recognize them if your teen starts vaping.

•    Be on the lookout for those tell-tale vaping signs: irritation in the throat and mouth, dry coughTV spots advertising regular cigarettes have been banned in the US since 1971. Yet, e-cigarette TV ads run during prime time regularly. Don’t let this $3 billion industry trick you or your kids into thinking e-cigarettes are harmless.

 Seeing through the Vapor, E-Cigarettes

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