What is vaping?
By way of heated coils, a vape (juul, e-cig, etc.) heats liquid containing nicotine or THC with flavour enhancers and it’s inhaled through vaporizing. There are many different flavour “juices” you can buy, i.e. tobacco, menthol, candy flavour, cucumber, also “applejacked,” “rainbow crush,” “Brexit at Tiffany’s,” “Kickstart my Tart,” etc. All have different levels of nicotine, many in quite high concentrations (more than a cigarette). It’s illegal to buy vapes or products under age 18 but fairly easy to purchase online. Vapes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but equally addictive because of the highly addictive quality of nicotine.
What’s in vape liquid?
Glycerol, flavours, propylene glycol, nicotine (possibly) or THC, or simply flavours.
Who is vaping?
Teens are experimenting with vaping at the highest level and this has increased 900% since 2015.
What does nicotine do?
Note: Tobacco smokers wanting to quit use vaping as a smoking cessation device, with efficacy.) Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and it changes the function of our brains (memory, neurotransmitters get out of whack). Children and teens are especially susceptible to risks allied with addiction as their brains are still forming and they are often struggling with issues of identity.
“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world, I’ve done it a thousand times.”
What is so bad about being addicted to nicotine (or heroin, or cocaine)?
Withdrawal and dependency. This is, first and foremost, what we worry about when we focus on adolescent vaping. Dependency on substance at a young age increases risk for addiction later in life and withdrawal becomes more difficult.
Talking to your son about vaping
If you have a trusting relationship with your son it will be easy to have a conversation. If this is difficult, direct him to someone he does trust. Before warning of the dangers, be inquiring. How often does he vape? What effect does it have on him? Why does he do it?
Most boys, if they are regular vapers, do it for a quick stress relief/”feel good” high. The may be aware of the dangers of addiction but this is not front of mind, and developmentally, teenagers tend to think themselves immune to addiction.
The physical and long-term effects of vaping are yet to be seen as no long-term study has been undertaken.
For more information
Government of Canada: Vaping