While teenagers in the United States are not allowed, by law, to buy cigarettes until they are over the age of 18, teenagers who are vaping could be using electronic cigarettes that don’t need nicotine, however, there are still consequences of this way of smoking, and Trulaw can help you if your family or child has been affected by this.
Vaping is becoming ever more popular, and it is much more popular with teenagers. While they are not considered to be as harmful as cigarettes, there is not enough research to confirm this entirely.
Vaping may not only be dangerous, but it is most definitely addictive and this addiction can do a lot of harm to teenagers.
Read on as we discuss this.
How Vaping Can Become Addictive In Teenagers
What Is Vaping & What Are E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are small electric devices which heat up a liquid to produce an aerosol or small particle mix in the air. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, with most having a battery, heating element and a ‘tank’ to hold the liquid in.
Some electronic cigarettes can actually look quite similar to regular cigarettes, pipes, or even cigars. Others may look like a USB flash drive or a pen. Some of the larger versions do not look anything like tobacco products and look simply like large electric devices.
They have many names, and their use of them is typically referred to as vaping.
How Do They Work?
These devices work by heating a liquid which may or may not contain nicotine and other flavourings as well as chemicals. The liquid is often called ‘e-liquid’. Those who use it inhale the vapour from this liquid through the vaping device and exhale it into the air, like a cigarette.
They are most often used to supplement cigarettes, however, they can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs as well in some circumstances, although this is much rarer. They are more common in edibles like 200 mg gummy bears. It’s known as a “fun” way to consume cannabis.
How Is It Harmful To Young Persons?
A majority of electronic cigarettes will contain nicotine, which is what causes addiction to regular cigarettes and tobacco products. 99% of vaping devices contain nicotine in the United States.
Some labels will state they do not contain nicotine, but when tested nicotine has been found.
Nicotine is known to harm the young brain, and it can do developmental damage until age 25, as this is when the brain stops developing. It can be harmful to parts of the brain that manage learning, impulse control, attention, and mood.
When new memories are made and skills learned, there are connections made in the brain, and young persons’ brains do this faster than adult brains. However, nicotine changes how these connections are made.
It has even been proven in a study, that the use of nicotine in adolescent years can increase the potential future risk of becoming addicted to other drugs.
What Barriers Do Young People Face With Vaping?
Having a nicotine addiction from vaping is actually a bigger problem than teens and some parents may realize. Teenagers tend to think they won’t get addicted to this product, however, they always find it hard to stop.
Getting help is also a problem for teenagers, as with the teen years already being full of stressors and social pressure, it can be more difficult to admit there is a problem, let alone seek help.
Some of the barriers that can stand in the way of quitting or getting help can include:
- Having to inform parents that they vape (and fear of outcome).
- Not knowing how to get help, or not being aware of the resources available to do so.
- Not having transportation to get to a location that offers treatment.
- An absence of third-party reimbursement for treatment.
- Social pressure.
In spite of how addictive vaping and nicotine is, teens can easily quit with approaches personalized for the individual. Intervening early is absolutely key here though. Use of nicotine patches and gum can help in tapering teens off of nicotine.
Teens especially need help to quit vaping and smoking before it becomes a lifelong habit and interferes with their brain development, and general health, or even leads them to other drugs.
Overall – Treatment For Teens
There are plenty of locations that offer treatment for teens and seek to increase awareness and education around this ever-growing problem and addiction in teens.
Teens can be affected in many ways by vaping, from hindered brain development to lifelong addiction, and it even being a ‘gateway’ to other, potentially more dangerous drugs.