If you’re thinking of talking with your children about vaping, but you’re not sure where to start, then this guide is for you!
Vaping has been around for over fifteen years now, but it was around 2016-2017 that vaping really seemed to hit the big time. Vaping was first invented in China around 2003-2004 by a Chinese inventor that wanted a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes.
Whereas schools, families, and healthcare professionals have had decades dealing with smoking, no one was prepared for just how popular vaping would become.
According to a study conducted in 2017, almost one in three high school children have tried using a vaporizer. However, this survey didn’t consider how many of those surveyed were already smoking traditional cigarettes before trying vaping.
While it seems as if every time you turn on the news or open a magazine, there is another horror story about vaping, the truth is a little less exciting. Unfortunately, mainstream media have sensationalized vaping horror stories. They appear to have an extremely biased opinion regarding vaping, with very few media outlets presenting both sides of the story.
In the following guide, we’ll present you with the facts and information you need to educate yourself and your children regarding vaping.
What Is Vaping?
Vaporizers have a variety of different names but are essentially the same devices. Pod vapes, e-cigs, e-cigarettes, mods, vape pens, vaporizers, and pod vaporizers. They made up of several basic components. A tank or pod which holds the e-liquid, a battery source to power the vaporizer, a heating element which turns the e-liquid into a vapour and a mouthpiece which you inhale the vapour through.
When you inhale or hit the firing button on the vaporizer is sends current to the heating element, which heats the e-liquid into a vapour. The vapour is then inhaled through the mouthpiece and into the lungs.
What Do Vaporizers Look Like?
Basic e-cigarettes look very much like traditional cigarettes, even down to a glowing red LED tip! Some of the new pod systems, such as the JUUL, look like a small USB stick. Others look more advanced, and some even resemble everyday items such as phones or key chains.
Some vaporizers, such as pods, are used until empty and then thrown away. Other vaporizers feature a tank that can be refilled with e-liquid and coils replaced.
What Is Being Vaped Inside A Vaporizer?
There are a variety of different liquids that can be vaped inside a vaporizer. The most common thing that people choose to vape is flavoured e-liquid, with and without nicotine.
- Flavoured E-Liquid – There are thousands of different flavours to choose from, and e-liquid is available in different VG/PG ratios, which affects the throat hit and vapour produced.
- Flavoured E-Liquid with Nicotine – E-liquid is available with zero nicotine all the way up to 36mg and higher. The most common levels are 3mg, 6mg, 12mg, and 18mg.
- Flavoured E-Liquid with CBD – CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in hemp and marijuana. It won’t get you high, and many people vape it for its potential health benefits.
- Flavoured E-Liquid with THC – THC is the psychoactive compound found in the marijuana plant. Many people vape THC infused e-liquid to experience a ‘high’ effect.
Why Is Vaping Becoming So Popular?
It’s hard to lock down exactly why vaping became so popular among teenagers and younger adults. Vaping was intended to provide a safer and healthier alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes, but a small percentage of vapers have never smoked before trying vaping.
While vaping critics believe that the flavours of e-liquid are designed to attract children, many adult vapers prefer the sweet fruit and candy flavours than tobacco and menthol flavours.
While critics believe that vaping is designed and targeted towards teenagers, many teenagers believe that vaping ‘isn’t cool’ or on-trend.
Is Vaping Safe?
While there are a lot of horror stories and studies surrounding the dangers of vaping, there is also an equal number of studies that say that vaping is much safer and healthier than smoking traditional cigarettes.
Most people are familiar with stories of vaporizers exploding and catching on fire. What you may be surprised to learn is that many electronic devices with batteries explode and catch on fire, and there is more risk associated with vaporizers when compared to mobile phones, etc.
Many vaporizers that explode are due to operator error. Batteries should never be overcharged or left unattended while charging. Also, many of the vaporizers which have malfunctioned are known as mechanical mods. These are vaporizers that feature no safety devices or chips. They are usually homemade, and the battery sends current directly to the coil without the safety of circuit breakers or chips.
While it may not be 100% safe, studies have shown that vaping could be 95% better for you than smoking traditional cigarettes.
Because vaping is a relatively new invention, there aren’t a lot of long-term studies into the health effects which it may have on people.
A comprehensive study commissioned by Congress from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine in 2018 came up with a variety of different conclusions regarding vaping.
- Exposure to Nicotine – Nicotine is classed as a poison, and any exposure to nicotine can be harmful because of its addictive nature.
- Release of Dangerous Compounds – While the vaping process may produce potentially toxic substances, the study found that the levels were lower than those encountered when smoking traditional cigarettes.
- Dependence – The study found that some people exhibited a dependence on vaping, and there could be withdrawal symptoms if vaping ceases. This could also be attributed to nicotine addiction, and the severity was much lower than that experienced with traditional cigarettes.
- Long-Term Studies – More long-term studies are required to evaluate the risk of respiratory illness and cancer.
What Can Parents Do To Prevent Vaping?
You’re already doing the first thing; educating yourself about the facts surrounding vaping is a great way to prepare yourself to talk about vaping. It is a good idea to be aware of the risks surrounding vaping without falling prey to sensationalized media stories.
Once you’re educated surrounding the topic of vaping, you’ll be better prepared to have a discussion about it. While many teenagers try vaping, not many continue with it, and it is largely believed to be a fad or trend among younger vapers while many older people use vaping as an alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes or as a quit smoking aid.
Having an open conversation about why your children are vaping and what they expect to get out of it compared to some of the risks is a healthy way to communicate. If you set expectations or consequences, be sure to follow through while reinforcing healthier behaviour.
If you vape yourself, ensure that you don’t vape around young children or pregnant women. While the risks of damage through the secondhand vapour is much lower than cigarettes, it’s still a healthy habit to get in to. Make sure that you keep all of your vaping gear, particularly the e-liquid out of the reach of children and stored in child-proof bottles.