The Effects of Nicotine and Vaping on Youth

Nicotine and Vaping
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One of the preliminary topics schools request in our surveys is substance abuse of all types, from alcohol to drugs to CBD to tobacco. JAMA Pediatrics reports that 1 in 5 high school students vapes, so in this blog post, we focus on the impacts of nicotine and vaping on children’s health and the resources available to stop the vaping epidemic.  

Nicotine and Vaping Marketing

Nicotine is found in most e-cigarettes, and the more unfortunate part is that several companies, including JUUL, have marketed their products to children. JUUL was fined $40 million for its role in this. Not only is there the marketing aspect, but according to the Truth Initiative, the amount of nicotine in one JUUL pod is the equivalent of 20 cigarettes. Additionally, with many teens using social media platforms, it has been noted that TikTok, in particular, has an abundance of videos without age restrictions that are showing vaping and e-cigarettes as positive. 

The Health Effects of Nicotine and Vaping on Children

The bottom line is that e-cigarettes are not safe for children under 18, or adults, for that matter. According to the CDC, children who use e-cigarettes are likely to smoke tobacco later in life, starting an addiction at an early age that compromises their health and is difficult to shake. Nicotine and vaping can be extremely harmful to brain development in adolescents, which happens until around 25 years old. While some children and adults are under the mistaken impression that e-cigarettes produce safe “water vapor,” the opposite is true. According to the American Lung Association, harmful substances and chemicals are released when vaping, which can cause permanent lung disease and lung damage. 

When vape is inhaled, the chemicals coat the lungs, which can lead to a variety of lung-related issues, including “popcorn lung,” pneumonia, or lung collapse. There is also the risk of nicotine overdose, sometimes referred to as “Nic-Sick.” Symptoms can range from shaking and tremors to mouth-watering to shallow breathing and more

Additionally, inhaling nicotine through cigarettes or in more concentrated doses through vaping can stimulate the nervous system leading to increased blood pressure, faster heart rate, decreased concentration and memory, and cause cancer. 

Resources for Parents and Community Coalitions 

The primary goal is to educate youth about the dangers of nicotine and vaping prior to them starting to smoke or use e-cigarettes. If a teen or young adult is already vaping or is showing some of the signs of vaping, the Partnership to End Addiction has a helpful resource guide with details about how to speak with children. This is Quitting is a free and anonymous resource designed for teens directly to help them quit vaping. They can learn more and sign up by texting DITCHVAPE to 88709.

It remains essential to educate students, parents, and community organizations about the dangers associated with nicotine and vaping, alcohol, and other substances. Should you be interested in learning more about a vaping or tobacco survey for your community coalition or school, please contact our team at 800-279-6361 or fill out our quick online contact form. 


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