Why You Should Talk To Your Child About E-Cigarettes And Vaping

September 14, 2018

© Ilkin Guliyev | Dreamstime

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a formal warning to five e-cigarette manufacturers, telling them they must step up efforts to keep kids and teens from accessing their products or face a possible ban on sales of flavored e-cigs. The warning comes after an undercover FDA investigation this past summer revealed that roughly 1,300 U.S. walk-in and online stores had illegally sold e-cigarette products to minors. Although most e-cigs contain nicotine, some simply contain flavors such as cherry, chocolate, fruit medley, and mango, which are believed to be designed to attract young users. Regulators are concerned with the sheer volume of people under the age of 18 who are "vaping" e-cigarettes. They are the most commonly used nicotine product among middle school and high school students, according to the latest data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey. In the survey, about 12% of high school students and about 3% of middle school students told researchers they’d used an e-cig in the prior 30 days. The researchers estimate that more than 2 million students could be recent users of e-cigs. (Less than 1.4 million are estimated to be recent cigarette smokers.) While e-cigarettes are touted as safer than traditional cigarettes, the nicotine they contain can lead to a lifetime addiction as youth brains are more susceptible to addiction than adult ones. Additionally e-cigarettes contain chemicals that are physically harmful to lungs and while there are some water vapors used with e-cigs that don’t have nicotine, they have other materials that can cause respiratory disease. So as a parent, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends talking with your child about e-cigarette use. Instead of sitting down for a formal discussion, it may be more effective to be more casual, such as being in a casual conversation and bringing up what they think of e-cigarettes if you see an ad or notice someone using one. Explain the facts as many kids are mis-informed.  A recent survey found that 63% of respondents ages 15 to 24 who use e-cigs were unaware that the products contained nicotine. It’s also important to explain to adolescents that their brains will continue to develop until they’re 25 years old, the AAP says—and that nicotine in the teen years can affect brain development, or increase their susceptibility to addiction to other drugs.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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