10 Sep The Very Real Dangers of Vaping
By Ruben J. Rucoba, MD.
As our children head back to school, it’s important for parents of middle-school and high-school children to send a strong message about the dangers of vaping, or e-cigarette use. By now, most of you are aware of the very real consequences of this habit that initially was purported to be safer than actual smoking, but has proven to be even more hazardous. Locally, the Chicago Tribune recently has had stories of two local teens who became ill after vaping. One is an 18-year-old from New Lenox, who was hospitalized for a week at her college in Colorado last month and may have lasting damage to her lungs. Another is an 18-year-old from Gurnee, who was hospitalized and, according to the Tribune, was told by his doctors that “his lungs on a chest X-ray look like those of a man in his 70s”. The statistics are alarming:
- Over 450 people in 24 states have recently been hospitalized with vaping-related respiratory illnesses, including 27 in Illinois.
- At least 5 deaths have been linked to vaping.
- One of those deaths was in an Illinois adult.
Vaping has been aggressively marketed to a younger crowd as a “safer” alternative to smoking, but research shows that it can be dangerous due to many factors:
- Because of the flavoring, many teens and young adults vape much higher amounts of nicotine than if they smoked.
- The flavorings used in e-cigarettes and the heating coils may have harmful chemicals in them.
- Vaping nicotine significantly increases the likelihood that teens will use marijuana.
- The THC concentration (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) in vaping cartridges is often as high as 90% unlike the 2-5% THC concentration in marijuana used a generation ago.
So please talk to your teens and pre-teens about vaping. And be a good role model for them. Despite what you may hear, parents are still the number one influence on teens, even over their peers.