Fortunately, the rates of adolescents smoking tobacco have dipped slightly. But unfortunately, e-cigarette use (vaping) in middle and high school students tripled in 2014, reports Dr. Mason Gomberg, a pediatrician with Westchester Health Pediatrics, in his latest blog. This very alarming trend marks the first time that e-cigarette use surpassed traditional cigarettes.
E-cigarettes and hookahs are very popular and very harmful, especially for teens
Nicotine is a very addictive drug and harmful to a developing brain. The liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes (and also sold separately) is extremely toxic. There have even been fatal cases when the nicotine liquid has been ingested or absorbed through the skin. It is absolutely critical that parents tell their kids that this “safe alternative” to cigarettes IS NOT SAFE.
An e-cigarette is a battery operated device that turns nicotine and other chemicals into a vapor which is inhaled (vaping) and absorbed into the blood stream. A 2012 study reported that 75% of teens who smoke continue into adulthood. Hookah smoking (through a water pipe) also dramatically increased last year. The number of middle school kids using e-cigarettes and hookahs quadrupled in 2014 (from 1-4%).
Parents MUST talk to their kids about the dangers of smoking and vaping
Marketers bombard our kids with an increasing number of ads on TV, movies and in print selling the pleasures of smoking. Schools try to combat this media onslaught with DARE programs and educational materials, but it’s our job as parents to reiterate these messages and talk directly with our children and teens about the harm any type of smoking will do to their bodies. As always, the most powerful example we can set for our children is by our own actions (by not smoking).
To read Dr. Gomberg’s blog in full, click here.