There is currently a race to find out the impact of e-cigarettes on the adolescent brain. Elisa Trucco and Matthew Sutherland, psychologists from Florida International University, are leading this race due to parents being concerned. Parents want to know how vaping is going to affect their children. Sutherland and Trucco have a study to examine why adolescents choose certain vaping devices.
Vaping is also known as e-cigarettes. Vaping has risen by 900 percent between 2011 and 2015 with high school students. The FDA calls this usage an epidemic. It is all about educating teens and their parents on the dangers of using e-cigarettes.
The brain of an adolescent is still growing at this point, which is is another reason why this is so important to educate and inform on what happens when teen vape. Prevention programming is necessary and to implement this policymaker must regulate these types of products. Trucco and Sutherland’s current project, Antecedents and Consequences of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, or ACE, is a part of the research between FIU Center for Children and Families and the Research Center in Minority Institutions. It is all funded by the National Institutes of Health. In this study, they are finding out what influences an adolescent’s decision to start using e-cigarettes. They also want to understand the adolescent who chooses not to use e-cigarettes or other electronic nicotine systems. The decision to partake in vaping may also give clues as to other risky behavior and how that functions in the developing brain.
The study has not begun, but in the meantime Trucco and Sutherland want parents to know more about the health risks caused by vaping such as:
- E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive
- The nicotine found in e-cigarettes is also found in the traditional tobacco cigarettes
- Juul, a favorite vaping brand, includes the same amount of nicotine found in twenty cigarettes, which is one pack
- The addiction can affect the brain which could create more desires to use e-cigarettes
- The long-term effects of using e-cigarettes are unknown
E-cigarettes were initially created to assist adults with lowering their use of tobacco which was supposed to be a healthier alternative. As an adolescent using the e-cigarette is just as addictive as smoking a regular cigarette. The effects are also adverse on the heart and lungs, as per preliminary findings. There is no definitive answer as to how using e-cigarettes is worse than the traditional tobacco cigarette.
More cigarette smoking from teens who vape
Over 30 percent of adolescents who use e-cigarettes eventually start smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes within six months, which is a higher number than teens who are non-users.
There are second-hand and third-hand effects
There is no smoke produced from the e-cigarette; however, breathing in the vapor is not harmless. The second-hand vapor, or aerosol, contains harmful chemicals including heavy metals and lead. The flavoring, diacetyl, has been linked to lung disease. The aerosol also contains nicotine increasing non-users’ likelihood of becoming nicotine dependent. Lastly, third-hand exposure, which occurs from second-hand vapor remaining on surfaces, is a factor. Third-hand exposure remains on surfaces and is ingested unintentionally through skin contact. The health risks caused by vaping are threefold and a danger to adolescents.