Vaping has taken the world by storm. What used to be a method of quitting cigarettes is now a full-blown craze, with people picking it up just for recreation. Unfortunately, this isn’t just an adult phenomenon — it’s spread to the kids.
A 2019 study found that 37% of students surveyed had vaped in the past 12 months. While vaping is totally okay for adults to enjoy, it poses a lot of risks for those under the age of 18.
So, what is vaping exactly, and how do you talk to your kids about it? Let’s find out.
What Is Vaping?
Vaping is a method of intaking nicotine through an electronic, rechargeable cigarette known as a vape.
Vaping was originally made and marketed as a method of quitting cigarettes. The idea is that vaping is healthier than smoking cigarettes. It’s also easier to measure how much nicotine you’re getting thanks to the cartridges, making it an effective way to ween yourself off of cigarettes over time.
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Vaping is also tastier than cigarettes, thanks to the flavors you can get. Although, some places have illegalized all flavors beyond mint and nicotine.
Somewhere along the line, though, the original purpose of vapes got lost. Some people simply switched from smoking to vaping rather than trying to quit, making it a staple of their lives. From there it spread to other people who thought it looked fun, appealing, or like a good stress reliever, and continues to spread.
What Is the Appeal of Vaping?
There are a few appealing factors to vaping no matter who you are.
At the most basic level, there’s the appeal to smokers as an alternative way to get nicotine. This is the most acceptable reason to start vaping. Even if a smoker switches to vaping full-time without trying to quit, it’s still healthier than smoking.
Most kids aren’t into vaping because it helps you quit smoking, though. For kids, the appealing factors are mostly the taste, the clouds, the tricks, and peer pressure.
“Cloud chasing” describes vaping to get the biggest clouds. It involves making a custom dabbing rig equipped to let you blow the biggest clouds of vapor. It’s a social competition of sorts, with many people even filming and uploading their clouds to the web to show off.
From there, you can also learn to do “trick” with the vapor, such as vapor-rings and french inhales. This phenomenon helps vaping move from its utility to a toy. It’s appealing for kids and teens who want something to show off to their friends.
Fruity and unique vape tastes don’t help the problem, either. Some kids get into vaping because they love the taste. They try one of their friend’s vapes, love the taste, then start so they can keep getting it.
Finally, peer pressure is maybe the most major appeal to vaping. With more and more kids taking it up, more and more kids want to take it up to fit in. It’s a social tool just like smoking. Also similarly to smoking, however, is the unfortunate reality of nicotine addiction.
Is Vaping Safe?
Vaping might be safer than smoking, but that doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe. In fact, some of its effects harm the body in similar ways to cigarettes. Vaping may not cause cancer, but it comes with its own set of risks that kids don’t realize.
What Is Bad About Vaping?
Multiple studies find that vaping is bad for your heart. A 2019 study, for example, found that vaping increases a person’s chance of heart attacks. Even the puffing action a vape requires increases your chances of a heart attack, as it increases your blood pressure.
Vaping has also been known to cause “popcorn lung,” or bronchiolitis obliterans. This gives the user a persistent cough and shortness of breath. Popcorn lung causes lasting damage to your body, and the longer you suffer from it the worse you’ll get.
Beyond that, vaping is also bad for your gums and teeth. One study finds that it contributes to gum inflammation, which is a major cause of mouth diseases.
Considering all this, vaping is not safe, especially for kids. When an adult starts vaping for whatever reason, they understand that what they’re signing up for isn’t safe. Kids often don’t.
What Is Chain Vaping?
If you’ve heard of the term “chain smoking” then you can probably guess what chain vaping is.
Chaing vaping refers to the act of vaping almost constantly. The user can be seen vaping at most hours of the day, whether indoors, in conversation, at dinner — you name it. If you or someone you know chain vapes, they may be addicted to vaping.
Chain vapers are the most likely to experience the negative effects listed above. It also makes them more prone to things like allergies, headaches, and dehydration. On top of all that, chain vaping is expensive — vape juice isn’t cheap.
Chain vaping is a sign of a problem. If your child is chain vaping, it’s time to talk to them.
Talking to Your Kids About Vaping
If you notice your child vaping, you should talk to them immediately. It’s best to talk to them before an addiction settles in.
Sit your child down and try to have a calm, respectful conversation with them. Come prepared with the facts and statistics. Start by asking them why they’re vaping, and how they got involved, then ask them if they know the risks.
Present the risks to them like an adult. Don’t yell and scream, and don’t accuse them of wrongdoing. They’re likely just trying to fit in with a certain social circle, or they don’t understand the risks.
Show your concern and offer your help in getting them off the vape. With an adult approach of mutual respect, you can win this battle. If you continue to see them vaping, then it might be time to set more rigid restrictions or get professional help.
Vaping: For Adults Only
So, what is vaping?
Vaping is a perfectly fine activity for adults to take part in, but a pandemic among kids and teens. There are age restrictions surrounding vapes for a reason, but that only does so much to keep them out of kids’ hands. If you see your child vaping, talk to them about the risks — it might just change their mind.
For more tips on being the ultimate mom, check out the rest of our blog.