Vaping is one of the newest trends to hit the teen scene in recent years. The practice of inhaling flavored vapors has appealed to adolescents and adults alike, as it has been touted as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes. Despite the positive marketing or the products, the reality is that there are some significant dangers to vaping that are unique to this trend. It is important for parents to understand what vaping is and how it is used to ensure their teens are not putting themselves at unnecessary risk.
What is Vaping?
Vaping uses an electronic device, known as an e-cigarette to inhale vapors. The e-cigarette consists of a battery that powers the device and an atomizer that heats the liquid placed inside. Heating the liquid creates the vapor that is then inhaled. E-cigarettes have been sold in the U.S. since 2007 and were originally marketed as a way to help smokers kick the tobacco habit.
Since their introduction nearly a decade ago, use of e-cigarettes has been on the rise including among younger users. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarette use tripled among middle school and high school students from 2013 to 2014. In 2014, 13.4 percent of high schoolers admitted to using e-cigarettes during that year.
Products Used in E-Cigs
There are a variety of products that can be smoked through e-cigarettes. The devices were originally designed for flavored e-liquids comprised of vegetable glycerin or propylene glycol and flavoring. Some formulations also contain different concentrations of nicotine for smokers that are trying to wean off the substance.
Flavors featured in the e-liquids are particularly appealing to younger users, with options like cinnamon, vanilla, raspberry and cotton candy to choose from. Despite the fact that the liquids might contain nicotine, they are touted as a safer option to cigarettes because they do not include tobacco or harmful chemicals frequently found in traditional cigarettes. However, these products are not regulated by the FDA at this time, so consistencies in formulations, or even knowing for sure precisely what is in the formulation, can be difficult to ascertain.
The Drug Connection
Unfortunately, as the popularity of e-cigs has continued to increase, so has abuse of the devices. One of the biggest concerns involving the vaping trend is the fact that nearly any substance can be placed into the e-cigs and no one will be any the wiser. This means users can replace the relatively harmless e-liquids with liquid pot or other drugs. Because the e-cigs create odorless vapor, the usual telltale scents of marijuana and other drugs are not detectable when they are smoked through these devices.
In addition to marijuana, users can inhale synthetic drugs like Spice, K2 and Flakka, dangerous concoctions that can lead to severe side effects. There is no way to tell what is being inhaled without testing the device in a forensic laboratory. This has led to posts on social media by adolescents bragging about their ability to use these substances in nearly any location, without anyone knowing what they are consuming.
If your teen has been using e-cigarettes, it is important for you to know precisely what it being placed into the device for smoking. If you want to learn more about e-cigarettes or the dangers of vaping, contact West Coast Recovery Centers at 855-927-2687.