A 2016 study published in the Journal Pediatrics found that teens that never smoked but used e-cigs were six times more likely to try cigarettes compared to kids who don't vape.
But how does an e-cigarette work?
An e-cig is a battery powered device which heats the e-liquid or e-juice consisting of flavors, VG/PG base, and nicotine. Here are some side effects of nicotine use:
- Decrease of appetite; fear of weight gain
- Increased heart rate (by 10-20 bpm)
- Increased blood pressure by 5 to 10 mmHg
- Sweating, nausea, and diarrhea
According to the World Health Organization, nicotine and tobacco addiction are responsible for 1 in every 10 deaths worldwide. The numbers are alarming.The prolonged use of e-cigarettes is making drug resistant bacteria more aggressive, weaken, the immune system and makes your body more prone to infections — you put yourself at a risk of developing severe lung and respiratory tract infections. Vapers are two to four times more likely to develop pneumococcal pneumonia, increases the risk of influenza infection and increases the risk of tuberculosis.
It’s hard to believe that something might be as bad. While cigarette smoke has more than 5,000 harmful chemicals, e-cigarette vapor has fewer, but nicotine plays a bigger role. Our bodies are populated by MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) which is one of the most common resistant bacteria, accountable for the death of thousands of deaths every year. About 20 percent of people are colonized with MRSA, nicotine increases the virulence of an already antibiotic resistant bacteria. Behind the harmless look of vapor, there’s a mass destruction weapon for your body.
The concerns go beyond nicotine alone. Some brands of vaping liquid include formaldehyde — often used in building materials — other common ingredients are antifreeze — linked to cancer. Some flavors use diacetyl to achieve a buttery taste which is an artificial compound derived from petrol — when inhaled can be extremely dangerous.
But it’s not only the chemicals the ones you have to fear, you also have to fear the engineers and the companies. Even though e-cigarettes have improved their system and functioning, they have caused severe burns and sore throats.
It has also sent several people to hospital after accidental spilling of vaping fluid which can be extremely toxic if ingested, inhaled or in contact with the skin or eyes. Even causing death in a severe over-exposure. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage. Repeated exposure to a highly toxic material may produce general deterioration of health by an accumulation in one or many human organs — you are literally vaping poison.
But worst of all can be the e-cig explosions, where batteries can just blast when on charging, in the pocket, or even when being used. This could cause serious property damage as well as injuries.
Some supporters of e-cigarettes claim that help people to quit tobacco smoking; and while it has helped some people to quit smoking, there’s to be found a study which proves the effectiveness of vaping to quit smoking, contrary to the thousands of studies highlighting its potential dangers. Vaping has proved to be so unsuccessful at helping to quit smoking and so difficult to properly measure your nicotine intake with it that people are getting even more hooked to nicotine than before. Hundreds of blog posts and articles have appeared trying to help people quit vaping, suggesting other ways of nicotine intake such as nicotine gum.
Dangers of Vaping CBD and THC Oils
CBD is a new popular product that is increasingly used in vaping. There is a concern that CBD (Cannabidiol) is unsafe; the FDA has not yet published any findings regarding CBD and vaping. The problem with CBD and vaping is twofold: CBD is much more potent than a marijuana cigarette, (equivalent to smoking 15 or more joints in one dose) and the ingredients that compose CBD are the oil and the mixture known as propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is an additive to CBD used to thin the CBD oil. When heated, the propylene glycol becomes a carcinogen with toxins that can cause harm to the vaper. When exposed to high temperatures, the propylene glycol can cause damage to the organs of the respiratory system, contributing to the causation of asthma and cancer, plus other diseases.
The specific compound propylene glycol creates with mega-heat and burning is known as Carbonyl, classified as a group 1 carcinogen. This chemical, included with the grouping with formaldehyde, has been associated with low birth weight babies and spontaneous abortions. Even exposure in the same room as vapers of CBD oil can cause bad side effects in the lungs that can contribute to asthma attacks, cancer, exasperations of eczema, and allergies. The propylene glycol particles attach to the cells in the lungs and are not able to be exhaled, creating permanent and ongoing lung damage health consequences.
Likewise, the new trend of vaping THC has negative health effects. THC is the abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in cannabis that releases the psychoactive effects. One of the problems with vaping liquid THC is the lack of regulation concerning the product. Natural marijuana contains around 20% of THC. Purchased THC oil can be as much as 90% THC, which increases the likelihood of overdose and side effects. Common side effects of THC are increased appetite (munchies), mood changes and lethargy. Dangerous side effects of vaping THC with a higher concentrate are seizures, death, and various psychotic and health considerations, like hallucinations, paranoia, very slow reaction times, impaired judgement, decreased learning skills, memory loss, confusion, psychosis, vision changes and elevated heart rate that can lead to a heart attack. Heating THC is very hard to control and there have been reports of explosions and third-degree burns for the vapor.
Addiction Issues Related to CBD and THC
As CBD and THC oils have a much higher rate of hallucinogenic products, these substances can trigger addictive behaviors very quickly. Some of these addiction behaviors can include delusions, the need to vape daily in order to relieve anxiety, digestive problems, sight issues, tremors, kidney problems, and nightmares. Although these symptoms may not seem as severe as cocaine or heroin withdrawal, they can be just as deadly.
If the kidneys shut down, vascular damage, immunity suppression, bone damage, and sudden death from altered heart rhythms can occur, many times with no obvious symptoms. A person with paranoia and hallucinations can attack persons, believing they are dangerous when they are not. Nightmares and visual disturbances can trigger psychotic behaviors. Tremors and shaking will increase anxieties and decrease balance, making the addicted person a fall risk, resulting in multiple injuries. The part of the brain that controls pleasure, memory, logical thinking, reasoning, time perception and sensory perception are all altered when the vaper is addicted. These types of brain damage can result in stunted growth and emotional problems, schizophrenia, and social anxieties that will affect the ability to function in society and hold regular employment.
Another consequence of addiction is drug seeking behavior. As the need quickens for a high, the vaper may move to seek a stronger drug, as the individual has already moved to the threshold of the "marijuana high". This will involve experimenting with even more dangerous and potentially damaging drugs and possibly venturing into unsafe environments.
There can also be incarcerations from antisocial behaviors. There are many felonies associated with "drug deals gone bad." The addicted individual has lost the personal judgment regarding safe behaviors and precarious circumstances, only wanting relief from the "down feeling and anxieties", plus the accumulated withdrawal symptoms, and is searching for the dangerous antidote.
What to Do in Case Your Kid is Vaping?
Now, if you’re convinced about the potential dangers and side effects of vaping: don’t worry — you can still make your kids quit vaping. Here are some easy steps that will help you manage that difficult talk with a teenager when it comes to quitting vaping.
- Set a Good Example
It all begins by setting a good example yourself. You are a powerful influence for a teen and he might interpret your actions as an endorsement of his behavior — maybe it’s about time you quit smoking/vaping together if you do it at all, or at least, don’t smoke in the house, car, or in front of your teen, explain why you are unhappy with your smoking/vaping.
- Start Talking
Tell your teen how much do you want him or her to stop vaping. It’s an important message, but keep in mind that ultimatums or treats aren’t likely to work. Instead of getting angry, ask what made him/her vaping. Maybe your teen is trying to fit in school or needs your attention.
Encourage your teen to share his or her concerns
Rather than lecturing your teen about the dangers of nicotine and vaping, ask him or her to make a list about the negative aspects, make one yourself and try to appeal to your teen’s vanity:
- Vaping makes you tire quicker in sports and other activities
- Short breath and persistent cough
- Bad breath
- Seen as less sociable
Vaping isn’t free either, calculate the cost of vaping and compare it to something he or she would rather buy.
- Help Your Teen Set Up a Plan
While your teen might think that can stop vaping at any time, it isn’t actually true in the vast majority of cases. Ask you teen which strategies considers to be the best and offer your own suggestions:
- Reason: Make him or her write down the reason to stop smoking.
- Set a quit date: Help your teen choose a date to definitively stop.
- Hang out with friends who don’t vape: If he or she feels pressured by friends encourage your teen to spend time with friends who doesn’t vape.
- Practice saying no
- Be prepared for cravings: If your teen resists the urge for a few minutes the nicotine craving will pass.
If your teen slips, remain supportive. Congratulate your teen on the support she or he has made. Above all, celebrate your teen’s success. Offer a favorite meal, a new shirt, or a party. Positive reinforcement can help your teen maintain the motivation to stop vaping for good.