I’m sure y’all have heard comments like this before: “Vaping isn’t nearly as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.” or, “It’s just water vapor – How can that be worse for you than straight cigarettes?”.
Well, these thoughts and ideas are filling our teen’s heads and they believe they’re actually making a “safer” decision by keeping to e-cigarettes. In reality, a JUUL pod (an e-cigarette cartridge) contains the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes. TWENTY CIGARETTES.
Colorado youth are vaping nicotine at twice the national average and at the highest rate of 37 states surveyed, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, most recently, on Sept. 12, 2018, the FDA declared vaping as an epidemic across the United States.
How terrifying is that?! Colorado is ranked at TWICE the national average. As the mother and step-mother of almost five children that absolutely horrifies me. That could be one of my children. My 14 year old step-son could so easily hear these misconceptions and think it’d be “cool” to try vaping and then get addicted. Getting hooked on e-cigarettes could introduce horrible chemicals and nicotine into his body and within a year it could be a gateway into actual cigarettes.
There is little known about the long-term effects of vaping, however it is proven to have negative effects on their mental development as it harms their memory capabilities and causes depression. There is enough going on in our teens’ brains at this vulnerable age and we cannot have them stunting it with smoking.
This is not the future I want for my children and that is the reality of many teens right now in our state and country. So I implore my fellow parents and educators to cultivate their children’s thinking on vaping, even if it is not cigarettes. It Still.. Isn’t.. Safe.
According to the Tobacco Free Colorado website, about half of Colorado high school students have tried vaping nicotine and a statewide school survey shows 87 percent of Colorado high school students think cigarette smoking is risky, but only 50 percent think those risks apply to vaping nicotine.
As parents, we hold the responsibility in informing our children of the risks – even if they don’t smoke or have never tried it. It’s important to bestow the knowledge onto them.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has created a suite of materials to help parents and askable adults to understand the risks of vaping, and prepare them to have informed conversations with teens about it. The materials are available on the new Tobacco Free Colorado website at www.TobaccoFreeCO.org/know-the-facts.
(I was compensated for this post in partnership with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. All opinions are my own and I truly feel passionate about this as my children are my world!)