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How Vaping Is Becoming a Seriously Dangerous Trend Amongst Children
Middle school bathrooms have long been notorious for odd behaviors like bullying and secretive activities. But as time changes, there are new threats lurking in our schools giving teachers and parents sleepless nights.
E-cigarettes, especially the slicker pod-types, are the latest trend and teens see vaping as a cool thing to do.
E-cigarettes are actually battery-operated electronic devices that release doses of vaporized nicotine or non-nicotine solutions. The reason for their popularity is that they provide a similar sensation to inhaling a tobacco cigarette. They are now very common and known by different names in the market, for example, e-cigs, vaporizer cigarettes, vape pens, vape pods, etc. The most apparent reason for an increase in their sales is that they are marketed to cut down on smoking.
E-cigs first appeared on the Chinese market in 2004 and, since then, have been consumed by millions of people around the world. Vaping is now the most popular form of smoking among teenagers in the U.S where use rose by almost 900 percent among high school students between 2011 and 2015.
Which new e-cig has taken the teens by storm?
The most popular product in the thriving e-cigarette market does not resemble a cigarette at all. The latest craze to hit schools and college campuses is a battery-powered smoking device “Juul”. Its popularity can be seen by the fact that it accounts for 33% of e-cigarette sales.
One reason for its popularity amongst teens is its discreet design: it resembles a flash drive and can easily be concealed under the sleeves. In addition, it can be charged by connecting to a laptop’s USB port and the range of flavors available further draws a young audience. It offers six different flavors that include Crème Brûlée, cool cucumber, fruit medley, mango, etc. Teenagers like it for producing a smaller plume compared to other e-cigarettes, hence it is easier for teens to smoke and not get caught.
According to their website, one Juul-pod is approximately equal to one pack of cigarettes and it is not nicotine-free. As the e-cigarette companies portray themselves as a true alternative to smoking, this ingenuity also fuels the trend.
Although Juul serves the same purpose as any other e-cigarette to minimize smoking among adults, the real concern has been the growth in its use by teens and children under the age of 18. This leaves many parents, educators, and medical professionals concerned.
Is Juul harmless or really harmful?
The reason people switch to e-cigarettes is because they are not made with tar and other carcinogenic chemicals like a tobacco cigarette. E-cigarettes can be considered a relatively healthy alternative to tobacco cigarettes for adults. But, as mentioned earlier, Juul contains nicotine which makes it unhealthy and potentially addictive.
E-cigs with nicotine are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. Perhaps it may be safer than a tobacco cigarette, but the problem is that nicotine itself can have major effects. Not only is nicotine extremely addictive, it can act as a neurotoxin altering brain chemistry so that the brain cannot function normally without it. This can be especially harmful to teenagers whose brains are still developing, and this is why the increase in sales is alarming.
More importantly, nicotine is a gateway drug. Teenagers who start using e-cigarettes are susceptible to also smoking combustible cigarettes, putting them at higher risk for health issues. Teenagers are also at risk of swallowing e-cigarette liquid, which can be fatal.
How to Stop Your Kids from Vaping?
There is need of a collective effort on the part of government, schools, society, and parents to stop vaping amongst teenagers. Schools have a responsibility within their premises but, as parents, you have a bigger responsibility.
You may be wondering how to stop your kids from vaping? Warning your kids or threatening them with punishment won’t do any good. The fact that these devices are available online, and kids can easily purchase them by faking their age, makes their sales easier.
Kids Counseling: It is essential that you talk openly and honestly with your kids about the hazards of vaping and the use of e-cigarettes.
Share your concerns with your teens and state clear expectations. You must emphasize between your discussions that “Juuling” still means using nicotine, which is a slow poison and addictive in nature. You must stress that using an innocuous-sounding buzzword does not make Juuling safe. Even if your kids are not familiar with what you're talking about, it's worth seeding this issue early to help them realize the health complications that come with vaping. Apprise them of the short-term and long-term consequences of this trend. In the end, empower your teen to make healthy choices by asking him or her to highlight the pros and cons of using an e-cigarette.
Public Awareness Campaigns: The fact that the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, and several other organizations have urged the FDA to take action against the growing threat of Juuling points to its damning health risks.
Public awareness campaigns are important in creating a general cognizance of e-cigarettes and their harmful effects. Tobacco prevention toolkits are also available online that help guide parents, educators, and administrators with prevention techniques. Seminars and open discussion forums must be held to make people aware that smoking e-cigarettes actually delivers cancer-causing chemicals into the body. The popular fruity flavors appear to carry the worst impacts. Kids, on the other hand, should also realize that buying the product is illegal for anyone under 18 years. A strict state policy should be in place to prevent minors from accessing these products.
Remote Monitoring: Another valuable way to stop the use of e-cigs is by using Xnspy mobile monitoring app for children.
This app, or one of the many other apps like this, can be a real force in hindering their use. You can use these apps to find out whether your kids are talking about e-cigs or vaping. You can monitor their calls, chats, and even their locations to find out about their life. Xnspy mobile monitoring app for children also provides you access to your kid’s online browsing history, making it easier for you to know what they have been looking at on the internet. You can find out whether they have visited e-cigarette websites, and can even set alerts for words like e-cigs, vaping, vapes, or ‘Juul’ so that you are notified when your kid uses such search terms.
Online Sales Verification: Besides using a mobile monitoring app for children, another crucial step towards controlling the sale of e-cigarettes is to devise stricter online verification mechanisms.
Currently, it is easy for teens to make purchases such as starter kits and e-juice online, and websites don’t always ask for proof of age. One way is to introduce mandatory profile registration which requires important information from the buyer. This information should then be crosschecked, and will help in compiling data related to users. If users get through the age-verification process online, only then they should they be able to buy a Juul starter kit. Parents should also monitor the credit card use of their kids to identify any purchase of vaping materials.
Vigilant School administrations: Schools should have a strict policy in place to deal with vaping and e-cigs proliferation.
School toilets must have smoke sensors and tighter regulations to control the spread of e-cigarettes. School health officials fear that kids misunderstand its impacts as they “microdose” all day, and teens do not understand the harmful impact of the chemicals in these devices. Schools should work together with parents and teachers to identify cases of vaping. If a student is found carrying a vape pen, the school administration should seize it, inform the child’s parents and initiate counseling.
Little is known about the long-term effects of e-cigarettes on our health but the fact that 63% of its users have no idea about the nicotine content in e-liquids makes it extremely dangerous for teens. Although they were first touted as a nicotine-replacement therapy, their positive role still remains inconclusive. Indeed, vape pods contain less toxic substances than traditional cigarettes but experts warn that vaping may still pose cancer-causing threats to its users.
It’s better to remain vigilant than being complacent against a potential threat
About the Author
Anthony is a 27-year-old blogger from LA. He started writing at a very young age and most of his skills and knowledge are self-taught.
He moved into digital medium while doing digital content training, and now shares his knowledge by contributing to different forums and platforms.