WE NEED YOUR HELP — Support your hometown newspaper by making a donation.
Editorial

Stamping out vaping among teens

Posted

Vaping gets its name from the cloud of water vapor that e-cigarettes produce, and it has become wildly popular among teenagers who believe it’s harmless. It’s not. In fact, vaping presents dangers that old-fashioned cigarette smoking does not.

For example, to ignite the nicotine in a “vape pen” in the presence of water, companies must add formaldehyde –– otherwise known as embalming fluid –– to it. When used “chronically, it’s really bad,” says Dr. Stephen Dewey, the laboratory director of behavioral and molecular neuroimaging at the North Shore-LIJ Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Vaping is believed to help people quit smoking, and in certain cases, it does. In most, however, it doesn’t. A study by Georgia State University, published in July, found that vaping helped only 10 percent of smokers quit the habit.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, e-cigarette use has increased 900 percent among high school students since 2011. That’s called an epidemic.

Teens are often attracted to the flavors that are added to e-cigarettes, like mango, tropical fruit and cotton candy. What most don’t realize is that the chemicals needed to create the flavors contain volatile organic compounds, which are known to cause cancer.

Research by the American Heart Association also suggests that the flavoring in e-cigarettes damages blood vessels and the heart, and causes bronchiectasis, a chronic inflammation of the bronchi, and eosinophilic pneumonia, which brings on respiratory failure.

And let’s not forget that vaping can lead to an addiction to nicotine, which harms the heart, lungs, kidneys and reproductive system.

Parents, as they say, are the anti-drug. Have a conversation with your child early — as in fifth or sixth grade — about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, drugs and now e-cigarettes. We have to reach kids early, before middle school, when too many of them begin experimenting with substances.