The Partnership to End Addiction reports that nicotine and marijuana vaping have become popular forms of substance use among young people. With flavors like cotton candy and gummy bears, together with sleekly designed vape pens and promotions claiming vaping is a safer alternative to smoking, it’s no wonder it’s so appealing.
How Common is Vaping? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2020 19.6% of high school students and 4.7% of middle school students reported using a vaping product (also known as an electronic or e-cigarette) in the past 30 days. Fortunately, that’s a decline from 2019 when 27.5% of high school students and 10.5% of middle school students reported vaping. Among students who vaped, 22.5% of high school and 9.4% of middle school students said they did it daily, despite growing awareness of the dangers of vaping.
How It Works. Most vape devices are discreet, easy to hide, and generally seen as cool and harmless. Nicotine and marijuana vaping devices work by heating a liquid or oil that becomes a vapor that the user inhales. Marijuana vaping devices often resemble devices used for nicotine or other e-liquids. For example, PAX is a brand of marijuana vaporizers that looks like the popular JUUL devices. People who vape can easily learn how to “hack” nicotine vapes to work with marijuana – there are countless resources on YouTube.
What are the Dangers? It’s now widely recognized that vaping is unhealthy and dangerous. The immediate health effects include coughing and wheezing, behavioral/mood changes, and headaches, as well as seizures, vomiting, and potential severe lung injury. In addition, vaping negatively affects a teen’s attention, learning, and impulse control. It exposes young people to nicotine at a time when the human brain is most at risk for addiction. The brain continues to develop until early adulthood, roughly age 25, so the use of any addictive substance prior to these years is especially risky.
People who vape can quickly become addicted to nicotine, putting them at increased risk of starting to smoke cigarettes or use other addictive products. High doses of nicotine can lead to nicotine toxicity, respiratory failure, coma and paralysis. Not to mention the other ingredients in vapes, including flavorings,
are harmful too. Most contain cancer-causing and toxic chemicals, heavy metals and tiny particles. These go deep into the lungs, causing lung damage, cell damage and reduced ability to fight off infections.t the dangers of vaping.
If you want more information, check out the Partnership to End Addiction’s Vaping Information.