A smaller percentage of kids smoke cigarettes now than in previous generations. Over the last few decades, the medical community has educated society about the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Despite these gains, kids using electronic cigarettes (aka E-Cigs) become addicted to nicotine. E-Cigs are sold under several different brands but are called vapes or vape pens by most young people. The irony is that vape pens were first created to be a smoking cessation device. We now realize the dangers of these vape pens.
What is a vape pen?
Vape pens can vary in size and color. All vape pens have a battery, absorbent material (cotton), an atomizer (coil) and E-juice (nicotine). Popular vape pens look like a USB thumb drive. Kids can conceal their use of the device in front of parents and school officials. Users inhale into the lungs a nicotine-rich aerosol produced by the vape pen. The user then blows the aerosol out, and it resembles water vapor. Doctors have raised health concerns about the chemicals contained in the aerosol and the amount of nicotine.
Is vaping safe?
Vape pen components are largely unregulated. Many vapes contain harmful chemicals:
- Lead, and
These chemicals and other known substances are leading to an increase in respiratory issues for young people. Researchers have not been able to study the effects of vaping and the full medical implications of long-term use. Also, batteries used in vape pens can spontaneously explode, causing severe facial injuries.
What should I notice?
If kids are vaping, their clothes will often have a citrus aroma. They claim it is body spray or deodorant. Additionally, vape pens can be used to smoke liquid THC, an active ingredient in marijuana.
Vape pen manufacturers target young people with clever marketing techniques and catchy advertising. There are also hundreds of different flavorings to make vaping more enjoyable for young people.
To curtail access to cigarettes and vape pens, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently raised the minimum age to purchase cigarettes and vape pens from 18 to 21 years of age. The medical community has sounded the alarm on these devices.
Parents and school officials must continue to educate themselves on vape pens and monitor access to them. Sycamore Community Schools do not allow vape pens on school property, and possession is grounds for suspension and possible criminal charges.
For more information about vaping, please contact the Montgomery Police Department at 513-985-1600 or the following links below.