August 25th, 2019
ACPeds Parent Talk

Keeping parents up to date on the latest news in child and teen health
Among teens, vaping is becoming an increasingly popular past time. The variety of flavors combined with peer pressure and the misguided belief that e-cigarettes and vapes are less harmful than traditional forms of tobacco, are all reasons teens decide to pick up a vape. Once hooked, vaping can be just as addictive as smoking cigarettes .

For many of these teens,  vaping is a way to self-medicate. Cell phones and social media while enabling us to “connect” with hundreds of virtual friends has paradoxically led to greater depression, anxiety, isolation and loneliness. This technology, combined with the ongoing decline of the nuclear family, and the typical pressures associated with adolescence, has led to a  mental health crisis among our youth  unlike any other.
Here are some signs that your child may be vaping:
  • Increased thirst. Vaping removes moisture from skin of the mouth and throat. This leaves users with a dry mouth and the desire to drink more.

  • Nosebleeds. Just like vaping dries the mouth, it dries the skin of the nose as well. When the nose gets dry, it can bleed.

  • Acne. Vaping can affect the surrounding skin. If your teen is having bad breakouts on otherwise controlled skin, this may be a clue.

  • Eating more salty and/or spicy foods. When the mouth is dried out from routine vaping, food is perceived as less flavorful. This even has a name: “vaper's tongue.” If your teen is reaching for the salt or eating more spicy foods, this may be a sign.

  • Cutting back on caffeine. If your coffee loving teen starts skipping her Starbucks, it could be due to vaping nicotine. Vaping plus caffeine can cause anxiety and severe mood swings. Most users will decrease their caffeine intake to avoid these side effects. 

  • Cough/wheeze/asthma/pneumonia. Research suggests that outside of the problems with nicotine exposure, there are nano-particles present in e-cig vapor that cause inflammation in the lungs. When lungs get inflamed, it can lead to cough, wheeze, asthma and pockets of bacterial infection that can cause pneumonia.

  • Finding unfamiliar USB drives, battery chargers or spare parts. E-cig devices have parts and cartridges that need to be exchanged and replaced. Commonly, these parts are spare wires, cotton balls or small containers (“pods”) that contain e-juice. If your teen is carrying an unfamiliar tech-looking device, or if there are interesting items in their trash bin, this is cause for concern.
Talking to your teens about vaping
The message that all adults – especially parents – need to get across to our youth:
“Don’t Smoke. Period. There is no way to smoke safe.”

The health risks of nicotine and other chemicals found in e-cigarettes are being actively investigated and it appears that several of these substances may be harmful to the lungs. Many individuals who have vaped have developed serious lung conditions and several individuals have died. One of the additional problems is the purchase of these products from street vendors - as the cartridges may have been tampered with and illicit substances (for example, marijuana) may have been injected into the cartridge. The federal government, several state governments, and the CDC are in the process of developing recommendations for the limitations of sales and availability of these products.
For guidance in talking with your teens about vaping visit:

The family table is an effective way to maintain family connectedness which will protect your teen's mental health. For practical tips visit:

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