Teach teens the dangers of vaping

Vaping is becoming accepted as a reasonable replacement for traditional cigarettes, with some users believing the product serves as an aid for kicking the smoking habit.

Other smokers are making the switch simply because they believe it is an option that could be permitted in areas where other smoking and nicotine use is prohibited.

Some may reason these are logical arguments indicating that vaping may be a better choice than smoking cigarettes, but no one should lose sight of the fact that dangers still exist with any type of nicotine use, and virtually all of these products contain some amount of nicotine.

Vapes are e-cigarettes that provide aerosolized nicotine and flavors to users through a vapor or “fog.” The devices, which range from the size and shape of a traditional cigarette to bulkier MODs, or modified vaporizers, have been on the market since 2007.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not found them to be “safe and effective” in helping smokers quit, according to literature provided by the Trumbull County Combined Health District.

“Research shows that smokers who switch to vaping do not tend to quit nicotine,” a report from the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health states.

Still, the popularity of these products is increasing. And perhaps a bigger problem is that it’s not just with adults. In fact, the trend has caught on among teenagers and young adults — including many who never smoked previously.

One of the most popular products, the Juul, uses salt nicotine in pods, and according to the manufacturer, vaping one pod is the equivalent nicotine content of one pack of cigarettes. Federal law bans sale of these products to anyone under age 18, but local teens tell the Tribune Chronicle those bans are not effective and, in the words of one of those local teens, “Everybody does it — they just don’t admit it.”

Her statement seems to be backed by the CDC’s 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey that estimated 3.6 million U.S. teens use e-cigarettes — one in five high school students and even one in 20 middle schoolers.

Here’s the good news: “Nobody does cigarettes anymore,” that local student, a junior at a Trumbull County high school, told the Tribune Chronicle.

The bad news? The estimated use of e-cigarettes is probably much greater than one in five. In fact, by her estimate, it could be as high as four out of five.

Why is it so popular?

“You get ‘hit high,'” she said — a buzz that lasts about 30 seconds.

In a statement, a top Juul executive has acknowledged that despite the company’s intent to keep kids away from the product, it is a reality that must be dealt with.

We hope he is sincere in that goal.

Vaping companies, adults, parents and educators must not overlook the seriousness of the dangers that come with vaping, especially when it involves our children.

Use of nicotine is a bad habit, and entry-level use through vaping can only end badly.