Dangers of Teen Vaping – and What You Can Do

Teen Vaping

Think smoking a pack of cigarettes a day is bad for you? Teenagers in Indiana vaping nicotine and other harmful substances through a disposable vaping device can inhale the equivalent of nearly 600 cigarettes a day. While there exist less than 30 legal vaping devices and e-cigarettes, teenagers and middle school children can access more than 55,000 types of vaping flavors, types and devices through a high-impact black market.

In addition to toxic levels of nicotine, teenagers and others who vape or consume e-cigarettes and related substances can consume or be exposed to many dangerous ingredients commonly found in vaping e-cigarettes, cartridges, tanks or mods. These include propylene glycol and diethylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze; formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, substances known to cause cancer; the weed killer acrolein; and numerous other toxic substances.

These and other alarming facts were presented to SICHC staff by Tonya Slone, Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Coordinator for Orange County. 

“Vaping is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes and parents need to be aware,” said Slone, who works with both IU Health and the Indiana Department of Health. “Thousands of vaping devices and substances are illegal in the United States but make their way into the hands of teens and middle school students through deceptive and illicit marketing and distribution.”

Vaping substances are available online, designed to appear when shipped as cosmetics or other everyday items. Some online messages openly encourage teens to “Hide your Nic [nicotine] with us,” lest parents or educators find out and intercept the harmful substances.

“Teachers and administrators often find themselves overwhelmed,” Slone said. “They are there to teach, but students who use these substances can bring them into the school or classroom, which is disruptive.”

Vaping devices and substances are often smuggled into schools in special containers that look like soft drink cans, hairbrushes, digital watches, thermos containers, or makeup bags. 

The statistics are sobering. An Indiana study found that one out of 1o high school students tobacco and one out of 30 middle school students admit to using. “The numbers are thought to be higher than reported, given the quality of sales and the fact that teenagers fear getting caught and are reluctant to admit usage,” Sloan explained.

“Parents need to be concerned and need to be on the lookout for symptoms often associated with vaping,” she continued. Such signs include unusual irritability, anger, impatience, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, negative change in performance (such as grades), change in hunger or eating patterns, sudden use of cheap perfume or cologne, missing phone chargers around the home, and increase in thirst. 

The good news is that research shows a trend of teenagers trying to quit smoking and vaping. Resources exist to help parents and educators. Online SMS and web resources include:
Text DITCHVAPE to 88709

Live Vape Free
Text INDIANA to 873373

Smoke-free Teen

Indiana Tobacco Quitline
800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669)

Click here to get Tonya Slone’s “Dangers of Teen Vaping” presentation


© 2024 Southern Indiana Community Health Care.   PRIVACY

Social Media