This blog post is written by Landon’s school nurse, Julie Acebal, on the growing epidemic of vaping and how parents can communicate with their children about the health effects of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes).
They have no smell. They can be hidden. They can cost less than a regular cigarette. But e-cigarettes can be addictive and harmful to your health. For our young people, this epidemic is real, and it is dangerous.
E-cigarettes are battery powered and deliver nicotine through a liquid called e-juice. The liquid comes in flavors such as mango, crème brulee, mint, and even gummy bears, that appeal to most young people. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and no amount of nicotine is safe, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Nicotine is an addictive substance that is damaging to the cardiovascular system and harmful to the developing brains of adolescents. Nicotine use affects a teen’s ability to concentrate, learn, and control their impulses. Even being around others who use e-cigarettes and breathing the vapor that is exhaled can expose adolescents to nicotine and chemicals that can be dangerous to their health.
Studies have also shown that kids who vape are more likely to use traditional cigarettes or other tobacco products. In addition to the harmful nicotine in e-cigarettes, the harmful chemicals in the e-juice are damaging to the lungs. There is much that is still not known on the negative effects of e-cigarettes, but the amount of young people hospitalized because of vaping related lung illnesses is increasing.
As parents, you should educate yourself about e-cigarettes before you talk to your child. Once you know the facts, you can follow some of the guidelines given by the U.S. Surgeon General for this important conversation. They include:
- Be patient and ready to listen.
- Find the right moment for a natural discussion.
- Ask for support.
- Answer their questions with honesty and transparency.
- Keep the conversation going.
The school counselors, Richard Curtis and Justin Roman, and I are here to help with those conversations and any questions or concerns you might have about vaping. We can and will provide a safe space for discussion about vaping or any other topic you wish to share with us. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 301-320-1074.