Recently, our middle schooler, a rising seventh grader, casually mentioned seeing some of her classmates vaping in a parking lot. I found myself in one of those moments as a mom for which I was unprepared to talk but knew that is exactly what I needed to do: have a solid, but brief conversation with facts.
I went straight to the FDA to do a little research, and just as I suspected, the newest and attempt to be cool is definitely a harmful choice.
In recent years, vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), and e-pipes, all types of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), have become increasingly popular among young people. In 2015, more than 3 million middle and high school students were current users, an increase from about 2.46 million in 2014.
Typically, ENDS contain nicotine, as well as varying compositions of flavorings, propylene glycol, glycerin, preservatives, and other ingredients.
They basically consist of a cartridge, a battery and an LED light. The e-cig heats up when turned on and the liquid housed within the cartridge produces an aerosol mist or vapor that is then inhaled or “vaped”by the user.
Despite what I found on popular retail websites where liquids for e-cigarettes claim to taste like ice cream, banana, candy corn or minty chocolate to mask the nicotine, the addictive drug is still present. Also, it’s a bit frightening that any liquid can be poured into the cartridge and inhaled. That’s water, juice, soda… vodka. Middle schoolers and e-cigarettes do not make a good combination. What matters here is that once I had the information and was able to have the conversation with her, she was open and wanted the facts.
Knowing that she is aware of the risks and can speak intelligently with her peers about what really goes on inside that cartridge is comforting to me as her parent. I’ve learned that empowering her with knowledge and helping her make a plan for responding to pressures are the best way to make sure she is confident and ready when walking through the parking lot.
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