Hey there teenagers, listen up: Don’t let anyone lead you astray. Vaping is not cool. You don’t look cool doing it. People don’t think you’re cool. But you don’t have to listen to me. Let’s look at the facts.
Vaping has been “sold” to the American public as a safer alternative to smoking.
“Safer doesn’t mean safe,” says Brian King, a deputy director at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office on Smoking and Health.
King points out that the primary ingredient in vaping is still nicotine, a substance more addictive than heroin and cocaine that can have adverse effects on the developing adolescent brain. Harvard researchers have also found a chemical called Diacetyl in vaping products that’s linked to a serious and irreversible respiratory disease called bronchiolitis.
Because vaping has only been around for 10 or so years, we don’t yet know the long-term health impact yet. What is clear is that despite the law prohibiting the sale of vaping products to anyone under 18, the number of teens using them is growing at an alarming rate.
In fact, teens are the fastest growing users of these products. The CDC estimates 3 million middle and high school students were vaping in 2015. Seventeen percent of high school seniors admitted to vaping in the past month, according to a recent study.
Why? I suggest that not unlike the cigarette companies that targeted teens in our day, the makers of vaping products are targeting teens today. Come on, with flavors like gummy bears, bubble gum and cotton candy? It seems pretty obvious to me.
So, here’s my takeaway. Parents please don’t write this off as no big deal, as the lesser of two evils. It’s not. Take it seriously. Your children’s health may depend on it.
Vaping is not cool, teenagers. Guess what else isn’t cool – lung cancer and respiratory diseases. Just ask someone who is dying from one of these illnesses as a result of smoking. I’m pretty sure they would tell you it’s not cool.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books, including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.