Risks of Vaping
Risks of Vaping
Vaping has become one of the biggest issues here at Westerville North and in high schools everywhere, and yet it is one of the most difficult to prevent and stop. This is especially concerning as more information becomes public about the risks of vaping. As of early October, 18 people had died from vaping-related illnesses, and over 1,000 people have developed vaping-related lung illnesses. This number is expected to rise as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to investigate cases across the nation.
At Westerville North, we are especially concerned when we hear about mounting risks associated with vaping. Some of these include:
Severe lung damage. Long-term studies on the effects of vaping are not yet available, but the results of short-term studies are pretty alarming. For one, vaping can paralyze the cilia in the lungs. The main purpose of cilia is to remove microbes and debris, and when they are paralyzed, the lungs are not protected. This leaves the body more susceptible to infections, including pneumonia. Vaping also increases lung inflammation and causes increased wheezing.
Harm to the cardiovascular system. The nicotine content in vaping devices, or e-cigarettes, has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and cardiac death. As well, nicotine damages the endothelial cells lining the blood vessels, which impacts relaxation and contraction of vessels, as well as clotting.
Explosions while in use. Scholarly journals have published stories of e-cigarettes actually exploding while in use, causing severe injury. One teenager suffered a fractured jaw, punctured chin, and several facial lacerations due to such an explosion.
Seizures. Between 2010 and 2019, 35 cases of seizures nationally have been linked to nicotine poisoning, that is, being exposed to too much nicotine. This is the equivalent of smoking five cigarettes back-to-back or consuming 10 milliliters of a nicotine-containing solution, such as through vaping.
More research about the risks of vaping comes out almost daily, and none of it is positive. It is important to start a conversation with your teens about vaping, whether you suspect they are doing it or not. You might start by asking a general, neutral question—“Hey, I just read about this blog post. What have you heard about vaping?”—and see what your teen says. Engage your child in a discussion about the serious health risks. If your child is vaping, let them know your thoughts and concerns about it, and work with them to replace the unhealthy behavior with a positive, healthier alternative. Consider contacting the school for assistance and support.
Theresa Black, LISW-S
School Social Worker
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