Clearing the Vapor: What is known about E-Cigarettes?

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Ali Monson is back in Southern Utah talking with Alecia Ledward, Health Educator with Southwest Utah Public Health Department, and they’re diving into a growing trend among teenagers that’s actually really dangerous and they’d like to let parents know about it.

That trend is e-cigarette or vape use and it has increased over 350 percent in Southwestern Utah since 2011. This is an alarming statistic! Alecia tells ABC4 Utah that Vaping is such a big allure for teenagers specifically because they are designed to be appealing to them because they look like tech devices and there are also over 15 different thousand flavors that appeal to youth, in fact, they offer Fifteen thousand flavors! There is bubblegum, coconut, Any kind of soda flavor, anything you could ever want – EVEN Cotton Candy which leads teens to think this is a fun alternative to a normal cigarette but it’s just as harmful and it’s just as addicting if not more.

Vapes do have nicotine in them. In fact, 99% of these products contain nicotine and some as much as a pack of cigarettes and every single high school in Utah is probably seeing some amount of this going on but with Summer it IS still happening. This is why parents need to talk to their kids and at the Southwest Utah Public Health Department they’re offering a free online course that parents can take and have their kids take as well called “Clearing the Vapor.”

All you’ll need to do is enroll and then you can go at your own pace. To enroll you just need an email address you create an account and go through the course, you can come back and return as needed and it goes over the harms of how teens are targeted what to do about it. You’ll also learn how to teach your teen to say no and there are other resources in case there is someone who is already addicted. This is a really great resource for parents, educators, and youth.

Also, Alecia talks about Vapes and them being addictive which is a common misconception. Vaping or e-cigarettes are again the safer options but it only starts with vaping. In fact, studies have shown that teens who vape are four times more likely to start using regular tobacco.

Here are a few suggestions of how you can answer the questions from your teen of “Why don’t you want me to use e-cigarettes?”

  • Science shows that e-cigarettes contain ingredients that are addictive and could harm different parts of your body.
  • Right now, your brain is still developing, which means you are more vulnerable to addiction. Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and using nicotine can change your brain to make you crave more nicotine. It can also affect your memory and concentration.
  • E-cigarettes contain chemicals that are harmful. When people use e-cigarettes, they breathe in tiny particles that can harm their lungs.
  • The cloud that people exhale from e-cigarettes can expose you to chemicals that are not safe to breathe.

Additionally, here are some facts about “What’s the big deal about nicotine?”

  • Your brain is still developing until about age 25. The Surgeon General reported that nicotine is addictive and can harm your brain development.
  • Using nicotine at your age may make it harder for you to concentrate, learn, or control your impulses.
  • Nicotine can even train your brain to be more easily addicted to other drugs like meth and cocaine.

Looking for additional resources? Visit the Southwest Utah Public Health Department’s website. You can also print the Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes: A Tip Sheet for Parents sheet here.

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