Five Things Parents Should Know About Vaping

Posted at 3:30 PM, Nov 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-09 15:30:25-05
1. Vaping has been around for about a decade.
While a decade might seem like a long time, vaping is still relatively new to the United States. Originating from Asia in 2003, vaping came to the United States in 2006. Vaping is when a person inhales/exhales a vapor through an electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), which includes e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, and mods. 
2. Vaping is bad for your health, but not as bad as cigarettes.
“Since vaping is a newer practice, doctors still don’t have a full picture of the long-term effects from vaping,” said Ammar Ghanem, MD, pulmonologist, with the Pulmonary Allergy Critical Care & Sleep Associates who works at McLaren Greater Lansing. “However, we do know that vaping devices have about 20 different chemicals in them compared to cigarettes, which have over 4,000 chemicals in them. Even though there are fewer chemicals, there are still harmful chemicals, including nicotine. Vapers become potentially more harmful if flavoring is added, which is not currently regulated by the FDA.”
3. Vaping is becoming more prevalent among middle and high schoolers.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, e-cigarettes and other devices are the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States. Roughly one in ten teens have tried vaping with an ENDS system. 
“The risk you run not only in teens, but a
dults too, is addiction that leads to other addictions,” said Dr. Ghanem. “Because most vaping materials have nicotine, it can be a slippery slope that leads to cigarettes and other nicotine products.”
4. It can be used as a smoking cessation tool. 
“E-cigarettes can be used as an alternative option for smoking cessation, given the less harmful effects, but the patient has to quit smoking completely,” said Dr. Ghanem. “Patients should use e-cigarettes for a few weeks and quit completely afterward. However, I don’t recommend this option to my patients because in my experience, patients who try e-cigarettes to quit smoking continue to smoke and vape at the same time.”
5. All tobacco products are now regulated by the FDA and are illegal to purchase under age 18. 
Regulation on vaping began on August 8, 2016, when the FDA finalized a rule to regulate all tobacco products. The FDA’s new tobacco rule makes it illegal for minors under the age of 18 to purchase any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and hookahs. It also requires that health warnings be placed on all tobacco products. In addition, companies are not allowed to provide samples, and there are stricter marketing regulations.
“Even with the FDA regulations and laws being put in place, I am worried about the middle schoolers and high schoolers,” said Dr. Ghanem. “When 11 percent of high schoolers are vaping, that is a high number.” 
If you think your teen may be using tobacco products, consult with your regular pediatrician or family physician for a variety of cessation options.