As a parent, worrying about our kids is just a fact of life. Even when they're in our plain sight it's easy to let the minds drift and become concerned about things that we likely cannot control. However, in the case of the latest dangerous teen trend of vaping, we all need to be at attention.
Just after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services delivered the fantastic news that only 5.5 percent of high school seniors reported smoking daily (the lowest number in 40 years), our kids became introduced to vaping. If you're not familiar, Healthline explains that vaping basically looks like the user is puffing from a USB drive and Juul, a leading e-cigarette brand, packs double the nicotine into their cartridges than you'd find in your average run-of-the-mill cigarette.
Juul is also known for flavoring their wares to meet the taste buds of kids, with options that taste like strawberry, sugar cereals, donuts, chocolate, and more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2017, 3.3 percent of middle school kids admitted to using electronic cigarettes, with a whopping 11.7 percent of high schoolers copping to vaping as well.
In the old days, parents could likely detect if their kids were smoking because the cigarette stench is pretty darn strong. In the case of vaping, the e-cigarette has to be either battery-operated or plugged in so that the necessary heating element can warm up the e-liquid cartridge to release an aerosol that is then inhaled in the lungs. This leaves little to no scent for mom and dad to pick up on, meaning they're less likely to know that their kid is filling their body with nicotine.
Kids may not even know how bad vaping is for them. There was a study released in which an overwhelming 60 percent of kids thought that the Juul cartridges they were using didn't contain any nicotine at all. Obviously, that's not the case (in fact, 99 percent of the product is filled with the stuff).
So what's a parent to do? Try to educate your kids on the dangers of e-cigarettes before they start. Just as you would explain why old-fashioned cigarettes are bad for your heath, come to the table armed with the consequences of nicotine addiction. And let your child know that despite some of those flashy-sounding flavors, there is a lot of danger hidden in those cartridges.
Hopefully if we're all a little more aware of this fast and furiously growing trend, we can nip it in the bud before we're dealing with a true epidemic.