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Just how safe is vaping?

Vaping is not safe. Not for you, not for your kids, not for anyone. The vapor that is created by the devices is not harmless water vapor. Even though the packaging may say there is no nicotine, published reports say that the devices have been tested and do, in fact, contain the harmful chemicals that may well lead to the use of tobacco products. Addiction to vaping is very real.

Electronic cigarettes convert a liquid to aerosol. The vapor that is produced affects not just the user, but anyone else who is nearby breathing it. Flavorings, like diacetyl, have been linked to a serious lung disease. Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are investigating “Lung Injuries associated with use of vaping products.” The article is accessible at www.fda.gov. In many cases, patients reported use of vaping products containing THC, a psychoactive component of the marijuana plant. (Both agencies recommend not to use THC-vaping products, particularly from friends, or family or in-person or online dealers.)

The National Families in Action organization publishes The Marijuana Report. A recent edition advises that Altria (formerly the Phillip Morris tobacco company) owns 35 percent of JUUL. Altria has registered a lobby for pot legalization in Virginia and is patenting two marijuana vaping devices, The Marijuana Report quoted Cannabis Wire.

The CDC reports that JUUL is a vaping device shaped like a flash drive. “All JUUL products have a high level of nicotine. The manufacturer says a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes.

The CDC, e-cigarettes are unsafe, contain nicotine, are highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development which continues into the early 20s.

“Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed. Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs.”

Further, the CDC says about two-thirds of vape users ages 15-24 do not know that JUUL contains nicotine. Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes. Nationally, 50 percent of the calls to poison control centers related to e-cigarettes are age 5 and younger.

JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Pediatrics page at the website offers a short list about vaping: What parents need to know:

1.) What are the health risks for teens who vape?

2.) How can you tell your teen is vaping?

3.) What can you do to prevent your teens from vaping?

4.) What can you do if your teen is addicted to vaping?

Signs that your teen may be vaping include:

— Fruit/candy-like smells

— Trouble breathing

— Unexplained cough

— Mouth sores

— Increased thirst

— Nosebleeds

— Throat clearing

— Increased irritability/mood swings

“One in five high school students vape,” JAMA stated, “so your child is likely to know someone who vapes … Quitting vaping is as hard as quitting smoking.” They recommend that when you talk to your child about vaping, ask what they think about it and share with them facts about it and resources regarding the dangers associated with vaping.

Family Recovery Center doesn’t help only families with addiction issues. FRC can help families find ways to navigate through these challenging times. For more information about how FRC can assist you with the anxiety and stress of Covid-19, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. Visit the web site at www.familyrecovery.org. Family Recovery Center is funded, in part, by Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.

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