The Truth About the Vaping Epidemic

According to the Center on Addiction, vaping is the inhalation and exhalation of aerosol, or vapor, through an e-cigarette, pen, or cartridge. When they were first introduced to the mass market in the U.S. in 2007, it was hoped that it wouldn’t negatively impact health, and since no literal tobacco smoke is involved in the act of vaping and the “vape juice” appears to be mostly water, many teens believe that vaping is harmless. However, this is far from the truth.
A statistic from Yale Medicine shows that an alarming percentage of teens vape, ranging from 11% of seniors to the most concerning: 3.5% of eighth graders. The JUUL website states that a single pod contains the amount of nicotine in an entire pack of cigarettes, making it extremely addictive. Teen years are a particularly dangerous time for people to start vaping since the human brain isn’t finished developing until the age of 25 and there is a direct correlation between teens who vape who go onto smoking and drinking. The disturbing reality is that these products are being marketed at teenagers, with tactics such as creating products in kid-friendly flavors, such as cotton candy. In a release from the FDA requiring vape companies to submit plans on how they will address widespread addiction in teens,

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. said, “We cannot allow a whole new generation to become addicted to nicotine.”

Vaping is proven to have many detrimental effects on health. Johns Hopkins has recorded that nicotine raises blood pressure, spikes adrenaline, and increases the likelihood of having a heart attack. The Child Mind Institute states that vaping irritates lungs in a similar manner to cigarettes and damages immune system cells. In teens specifically, vaping impairs alertness, memory, and attention span. The Surgeon General website on the facts behind vaping warns that since teens brains aren’t fully developed, vaping can affect their impulse control. Dr. Sarper Taskarin, a psychiatrist from New York, found that an adolescent he worked with decreased his swim times because vaping prevented him from achieving the necessary heart rate to swim.
All of the health risks that vapes pose aren’t fully known since vaping is relatively new, but what is known is a huge cause for concern. Vapes include cancer-causing substances called carcinogens, according to the Child Mind Institute. The Surgeon General site on vaping points out that the aerosol in vapes is also a hazard, as it contains many dangerous chemicals including diacetyl, which is linked to serious lung disease, ultrafine particles that can enter the lungs, and compounds such as benzene, which are found in car exhaust, and heavy metals.
Vaping may seem harmless or a more positive alternative to other tobacco products, but it poses a serious health risk and has become an epidemic in American teens. Be educated on the risks and how it will impact your health.
The National Cancer Institute has trained counselors you can speak to in English or Spanish to help quit a nicotine addiction at 1-877-488-7848 or you can connect to your state’s hotline at 1-800-784-8669 for more information. Other resources, such as the CDC, FDA, and American Cancer Association will provide you with information and aid. These even feature tools specifically for non-English speakers, women, and teens.

This is a photo of a vape mod taken apart.