DR. VIJAYALAKSHMI RANGANATHA
Vaping has caused an epidemic of nicotine addiction among teens. E-cigarettes are extremely popular. These devices (also called e-cigs, vape pens, e-hookah, e-cigars, mechanical mods, and pod systems) are not a safe alternative to cigarette smoking. Ingredients in the solution and aerosol from e-cigarettes have been associated with negative effects on learning, brain development, attention span, asthma control and have been linked to lung disease, EVALI (E – cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury). Some products contain known carcinogens.
I have been a Pediatrician in Monroe area for about 15 years. When I started here, I had never heard of vaping. Then I heard about vaping in adults who wished to quit traditional cigarettes. I gradually started hearing about vaping in a few teenagers and about different flavors they used. But now I find lot of teenagers in my practice are vaping. What is incredibly sad about it is that kids as young as 10 years of age are vaping. Youth who use e-cigarettes are much more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes in the future.
Our community has beautiful hard-working parents and beautiful children. Being a pediatrician and parent, I feel the responsibility to help our kids choose a smoke- and vape- free future. Nearly half of young vapers are interested in quitting.
I became an American Academy of Pediatrics E- Cigarette Michigan Co-Champion to educate myself, create awareness, and provide resources to help our children and parents. The AAP supports actions to prevent children and youth from using or being exposed to e-cigarettes and the aerosol they produce.
What Parents need to Know:
• JUUL is a sleek, small e-cigarette that resembles a flash drive. Due to their size, JUUL devices are discrete and can be easily concealed in a fist or a pocket.
•E-cigarettes come in flavors, which are appealing to children. Menthol flavor is most popular now, due to federal restrictions on refillable pod systems such as JUUL. This has led to a shift to disposable products in which the broad range of youth-appealing flavors remain available.
• E-cigarettes can be used to smoke or “vape” marijuana, herbs, waxes, and oils dangerous to youth.
• Children are exposed to e-cigarette advertising in the media, online, and in magazines and billboards
• Although it is illegal for e-cigarettes to be sold to youth under age 21 per federal guidelines, they can still be ordered online, and Michigan has not yet set its own state regulations.
• A young child can be killed by small amounts of nicotine: less than half a teaspoon. Because of this, liquid nicotine is required to be sold in childproof packaging.
• Symptoms of nicotine poisoning include sweating, dizziness, vomiting, and increased heart rate.
Recommendations for Parents
• The best way to protect your children is to never smoke or vape in the house, in the car, or in places that children spend time. Talk with your doctor about ways to help you quit tobacco products. E-cigarettes are not recommended as a way to quit smoking.
• Talk to your children about the dangers of e-cigarettes, and make sure you can identify them.
• If you are an e-cigarette user, always keep e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine locked and out of the reach of children. If exposure to liquid nicotine occurs, call poison control at 1-800-222-1222.
• If a teenager is using e-cigarettes talk to your Pediatrician about proven smoking cessation techniques, including Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
National Quitline or online help (call 1-800-QUIT NOW or go online to www.smokefree.gov)
If you would like to become involved in youth tobacco and nicotine prevention, please contact one of your AAP e-cigarette co-champions: