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Teens Ignore Dangers of Vaping, Rates Double in Two Years

Teen girl vaping outside while sitting in the grass  

For decades, we have known about the negative health impacts that smoking cigarettes have, and smoking in public has been increasingly limited in most states. At the same time that cigarettes have been becoming less popular, however, vaping has seen an exponential rise.

Unlike smoking, the dangers of vaping are not well-established or understood. This is a massive problem ⁠for families and children as teen vaping, in particular, is seeing a huge increase.

Teen Vaping Rates Increase

While researchers and public health officials are still trying to find out about the health implications of vaping, one thing is for sure: teen vaping rates have skyrocketed.

According to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey data, the downturn in vaping between 2015 and 2017 was short-lived. The rates of high school students vaping doubled from 2017 to 2019. By 2019, one in four 12th-grade students had vaped within the last month.

This trend is particularly disturbing because of the consequences that are specific to teen vaping. First, researchers know that even if teens who use e-cigarettes have never smoked cigarettes before, they are more likely to start after vaping:

  • About 40% of teens who use e-cigarettes were never smokers before trying e-cigarettes.
  • About 30% of teens who use e-cigarettes started smoking cigarettes within six months.

What’s even more startling is the fact that young people often think that vaping is harmless.

Dangers of Teen Vaping

Is vaping bad for teens? Aside from the increased likelihood of smoking cigarettes, there are many dangers associated with vaping.

While much more research needs to be done, researchers know that vaping is unsafe. Federal and state officials have reported hundreds of possible cases of pulmonary disease and disorders, as well as several deaths that may be linked to vaping. A California man recently became the seventh known person to die from a vaping-related illness.

One of the primary dangers of teen vaping is related to the lack of awareness that most vaping products ⁠— 98% of all e-cigarette products sold at convenience stores ⁠— contain highly addictive nicotine.

Dangers of Vaping Without Nicotine

As a way to mitigate the known dangers of vaping related to nicotine, many teens opt to vape without nicotine. Unfortunately, just because a vape doesn’t contain nicotine, this does not mean that it is safe.

There are other dangers of vaping without nicotine:

  • Vaping is shown to cause respiratory and lung-related illnesses, regardless or whether or not nicotine is present.
  • The ingredients of e-cigarettes vary. Vapes are not free of harmful toxins and deliver harmful chemicals.
  • Even if teens begin with non-nicotine vaping, they could easily transition to a vape juice that contains nicotine, making them more likely to start smoking as well.

Nicotine Addiction Help for Teens

With the massive rise of teen vaping, it’s likely that nicotine addiction will increase in teens. However, getting the word out about the risks and consequences of vaping is an important action in the effort to decrease nicotine addiction. At an individual level, you can talk to your children about the dangers of vaping.

If you or your teen is struggling with nicotine addiction or addiction to another substance, treatment is available to help. Reach out to Next Generation Village to learn more about the treatment programs that can help you take control.

Sources:

Truth Initiative. “E-cigarettes: Facts, stats and regulations.” July 19, 2019. Accessed October 1, 2019.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Teens and e-cigarettes.” Accessed October 1, 2019.

NPR News. “Michigan governor orders state ban on sale of flavored e-cigarettes.” September 4, 2019. Accessed October 1, 2019.

Raven, Kathleen. “Teen Vaping Linked to More Health Risks.” Yale Medicine. September 7, 2019. Accessed October 1, 2019.

Food and Drug Administration. “2018 NYTS Data: A Startling Rise in Youth E-cigarette Use.” Accessed October 1, 2019.

CNN Wire. “The rate of teen vaping has doubled within two years, new research finds.” September 19, 2019.” Accessed October 1, 2019.

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