What Parents Need to Know About Vape & Tobacco Products
Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable death, while youth vaping remains an epidemic. None of this is an accident. Kids face an onslaught of vape and tobacco marketing campaigns — especially on social media. 90% of tobacco users start before the age of 18. This means talking to your kids about vaping or tobacco is more important than ever.
Starting this critical conversation might seem awkward, but with a little prep, it can be smooth and effective. Here are answers to 4 frequently asked questions every parent should know.
1. Are vapes dangerous?
Yes — and the high concentration of nicotine is especially harmful to those under 25. Just one vape can contain up to 20 cigarettes’ worth of nicotine. This is dangerous because kids don’t know to regulate how much they consume. A typical vape contains between 200 and 800 puffs, but teens are known to use multiple pods or disposable vapes in one day, leading to a dangerously high nicotine intake.
2. So, what are the dangers of nicotine?
Nicotine is an extremely addictive chemical — as addictive as cocaine and heroin. It can lead to increased blood pressure, narrowing of the arteries and increased blood flow to the heart.
Consuming nicotine at a young age poses serious consequences. Why? Because nicotine alters the development of a teen’s brain. Exposure to nicotine puts them at risk for addiction issues later in life — including an increased risk of smoking cigarettes. Plus, early use of nicotine can cause harmful effects in brain development that include memory, learning and behavioral problems.
When kids consume nicotine, they set themselves up for a lifetime of addiction.
Vape users are also at risk of developing severe and sometimes fatal lung damage. The CDC calls this condition EVALI (E-cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury). Symptoms include shortness of breath and fever. The CDC points out that Vitamin E acetate, an ingredient commonly used in vape formulas, is linked to the EVALI outbreak.
Learn more about the dangers of vaping products.
3. Are tobacco flavors banned? Are vape flavors banned?
Not quite. In 2009, Congress banned all flavored cigarettes except for menthol. However, a number of flavored tobacco products outside of cigarettes remain on sale.
Most concerning is the continued availability of flavors in vapes, which come in thousands of kid-friendly varieties like banana ice, watermelon and cool mint.
What about the FDA Flavor Ban? In 2020, the FDA enacted a flavor ban to outlaw the sale of certain flavored vape products — but not all of them.
A loophole within the flavor ban permits the continued sale of disposable vapes in any flavor. As a result, disposable vapes such as Puff Bar are still for sale in a wide variety of sweet flavors that kids love — and sales have skyrocketed.
There’s another loophole in the ban. Menthol-flavored products remain on sale in all vape and tobacco categories. Menthol is proven to attract first-time users by masking harsh tobacco flavors.
One thing is for sure. Flavors are still out there, and they’re as dangerous as ever.
4. Is hookah dangerous?
Yes, hookah is dangerous — even for occasional users. In just one 60-minute session, hookah users are exposed to 100-200x the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette and about the same amount of nicotine. This can trap even casual hookah users in a cycle of nicotine dependency.
Contrary to what many believe, the water inside a hookah pipe does not filter out dangerous chemicals. In fact, hookah smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals found in traditional tobacco products like tar, carbon monoxide and over 80 cancer-causing compounds.
Tips to Talk to Your Kids
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