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What You Need To Know About The Youth Vaping Epidemic

Home Blog What You Need To Know About The Youth Vaping Epidemic
What You Need To Know About Vaping

If you've been paying attention to the news, then you've probably already heard about all of the hospitalizations caused by vaping. Over 2,200 people have gotten sick from vaping in the US last year, and around 60 people have died. This vaping illness is primarily affecting young people; 80% of those affected are under 35, and about 20% are between the ages of 18 and 21. 

As a company that strives to increase lung health awareness, we thought we would tell you everything you need to know about the youth vaping epidemic.

 

What Is Vaping?

Vaping is the act of smoking from an electronic cigarette, also known as e-cigarettes or vape pens. E-cigarettes are small battery-powered devices that can look like cigarettes. Some can also look like USB flash drives, pens, or other everyday items. These devices have cartridges inside that are filled with a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. The liquid is heated into a vapor, which the person then inhales. That's why when a person uses an e-cigarette it's referred to as "vaping."

 

Why are Teens Vaping?

*Juul advertisement for vaping 

It's illegal in all states for people under 18 to purchase e-cigarettes, and some states have even raised that age to 21. Despite efforts to crack down on retailers selling to youth, rates of teen vaping has continued to rise. 

According to a federal survey released in December 2019, nearly one in three high school students has reported using a tobacco product recently. For the sixth year in a row, e-cigarettes have been the number one choice for teens. Researchers also say that teens who use e-cigarettes are much more likely to use an additional tobacco product, such as cigars or cigarettes. 

The Truth Initiative has identified 3 main reasons young adults are using e-cigarettes:

  1. Because a friend or family member used them
  2. The availability of flavors, such as mint, candy, fruit or chocolate
  3. The belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than other forms of tobacco, such as cigarettes

President Donald Trump's administration and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a ban on flavored pods after finding out that many companies, like JUUL, were using flavored vape pods and other marketing techniques to target teens. You can see an example of JUUL advertising in the image above. 

 

Is Vaping Better for you than Smoking? 

While vaping can be less harmful than smoking, it still isn't safe. We know tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 dangerous chemicals, but we still don't fully know what chemicals are used in e-cigarettes. That being said, we do know that nicotine is the primary agent in both cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and it is highly addictive. Something that addictive makes you crave smoking and you even endure withdrawal symptoms when you try and ignore that craving.

Like I mentioned earlier, we still don't know what all the chemicals in e-cigarettes are. Specifically, what chemicals make up the vapor and how do those chemicals affect our physical health. Because of all of these unknowns, e-cigarettes are especially dangerous for your health. 

E-cigarettes have also been advertised as a  way to quit smoking, and let me reassure you that this has not been confirmed by the FDA. There are more efficient ways for you to quit smoking than by vaping.

If you're looking to quit smoking then you can check out some helpful resources on the American Lung Association's website. 

 

What is EVALI? 

As I mentioned above, there have been over 2,000 hospitalizations and around 60 deaths due to a new lung injury that's caused by vaping. This vaping related illness is very new. In fact, the CDC only put a name to it last year: e-cigarette or vaping product use associated lung injury, also known as EVALI. 

Laboratory data shows that vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, is strongly linked to the EVALI outbreak. The majority of people suffering from EVALI had acquired both THC and nicotine vaping products. For those of you who don't know, THC is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychological effects. 

Health officials are still continuing to do research on this disease, and you can learn about any developments by visiting the CDC website

 

Final Thoughts?

What are your thoughts on this youth vaping epidemic? Let us know in the comments!

 

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