Electronic cigarettes have many names like; e-cigs, vape pens, tank and mods, but they all have the same purpose. These devices are discreet and can resemble a pen or USB stick that delivers a toxic and addictive chemical. Electronic cigarettes were designed as an aid to help cigarette smokers reduce their use and exposure to harmful chemical. Marketing of these products may describe them as a “safe” alternative to cigarette smoking but they are not safe. E-cigarettes contain a liquid composed of toxic chemicals and nicotine that is masked with many tempting flavors. The electronic device heats the liquid, turning it into a vapor that is inhaled.
Although these devices have helped many smokers reduce their exposure to toxic chemical of traditional cigarette smoking, it has also become and epidemic amongst teens. Parents and caregivers may not be aware their teen is vaping because of the discreet device and ordorless vapors. It is crucial that teens are made aware of the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and vaping because the consequences can be life long.
The main ingredient in the liquid of e-cigarettes is tobacco. Tobacco is harmful because it contains nicotine that is sprayed with many cancer causing chemicals. When tobacco is burned, it becomes tar which sticks to the cells of the lung tissue and allows other carcinogens to build up and enter the blood stream.Other harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes is nickel, tin, lead and many others that cause cancer with exposure. When the combination of these chemicals is inhaled as a vapor it can cause breathing problems, frequent coughing, increased respiratory infections and overtime it can lead to cancer and death.
The nicotine in e-cigarettes make it highly addictive and the adolescent brain is particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of exposure. Nicotine releases a chemical in the brain that is associated with pleasure, your brain remembers this and wants more leading to an addiction. It can also increase the use of other addictive substances, reduce impulse control, lead to mood disorders and impact brain development if used before the age of 25 resulting in developmental issues.
If your teen is vaping, or you know a teen who is, discuss the serious health risk, developmental issue, addiction and irreversible affects vaping can cause. Talk to your teens health care provider if they are vaping and bring them for regular check-ups to monitor the affects of exposure to these toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.
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