Vaping nicotine with devices like e-cigarettes has become increasingly popular among adolescents. While it may seem like a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking, vaping poses serious health risks.
Parents of teenagers should understand the physical and psychological impact of vaping.
Like traditional cigarettes, many vaping products have high concentrations of addictive nicotine. The developing brains of adolescents are particularly vulnerable to nicotine addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 66% of teen and young adult users of the discontinued JUUL brand were unaware they were ingesting nicotine when they vaped.
Nicotine can affect memory, attention and impulse control. Withdrawal symptoms can include cravings for the drug, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, restlessness and mood swings. Some research shows that teens may be more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes after nicotine exposure through e-cigarettes.
Vaping can also harm lung health. E-cigarette aerosol contains harmful substances like ultrafine particles, volatile organic compounds, chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead that the user inhales deeply into the lungs. This can lead to inflammation, airway constriction and exacerbation of respiratory conditions like asthma.
Cardiac health concerns
Nicotine raises heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke, cardiac arrest and other life-threatening issues. For teens with underlying heart conditions or a predisposition to heart disease, vaping can be especially dangerous.
The long-term health effects of vaping are not yet fully understood. However, early research indicates that e-cigarettes are unsafe for teens.