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Vaping health risks: How harmful is it for teens?

Educational Resources

It looks like a sleek USB pod. It tastes like bubblegum, fruity cereal, marshmallows, slushies, or gummy worms. It’s no wonder so many teens and kids are attracted to the idea of “vaping.”

E-cigarettes and vape pens use heated nicotine liquid to produce a vapor for inhalation, or vaping. That liquid, often called “juice,” comes in sweet, fruity flavors that make the products particularly appealing to the 37% of high school seniors who say they’ve vaped. But make no mistake—these products are both addictive and harmful for anyone, especially for kids and teens.

The Facts about Teens and Vaping

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that interferes with brain growth and memory and increases the chances of addiction to tobacco and other drugs. Some important facts:

  • Nicotine interferes with the normal growth and function of the adolescent brain, which is still developing through age 25. (CDC)
  • The average JUUL pod (the liquid used in the most popular e-cigarette for teens) has as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. (CDC)
  • 37% of high school seniors tried vaping in 2018, a major increase from the 27% of high school seniors who said they vaped in 2017. (NIH)
  • Studies show that kids who vape are likely to ease into the use of tobacco products. (JAMA)
  • Vape pens can also be used for smoking marijuana.

Misinformation about Vaping Health Risks for Teens

What’s troubling is how much misinformation there is among adolescents about vaping. A recent study found that kids who tried vaping were less likely to believe cigarettes pose a risk of harm.

Many teens believe, often incorrectly, that vaping is simply inhaling a gas with a pleasant flavor. In a survey, more than 25% of teen vapers claimed to have vaped “just flavoring” (without nicotine), but experts say it’s likely many are simply uninformed of the e-cigarettes’ nicotine content.

“Kid-friendly” flavors only help to reinforce the idea that vaping is harmless. And it doesn’t hurt that the most popular vape pens, JUUL, are designed to look like sleek USB drives.

Get the Facts and Get the Help You Need

The continuing development of the adolescent brain makes vaping particularly harmful for adolescents and young adults. Talk to your kids about smoking and vaping at any opportunity. And if you believe your teen is on the path to addiction, there is hope.

The team at Rosecrance is here to help. Call 888-938-5278 to access educational and prevention services or to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

Get Help Now (866) 330-8729