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Coronavirus and Vaping – What Parents Need to Know

vaping

No one could have predicted the difficult times 2020 would bring. With the Coronavirus pandemic now in its third wave, people everywhere are taking extra precautions to keep themselves and their families safe.  

Experts believe that because the Coronavirus can cause respiratory infections, those who smoke or vape may be at a higher risk of complications if they contract the virus. If you haven’t already, now is the time to get informed about vaping, and be prepared to start a conversation about it with your family if the need arises. 

What is Vaping?  

Vaping is a type of e-cigarette. In a vape, a battery heats up a liquid that produces vapors, which can then be inhaled. Many of the tanks, which hold the liquid, contain nicotine. Vapes can also be used with marijuana, hash oil, or other potentially harmful substances. Although there are laws in place preventing the sale of e-cigarettes to adolescents, there has been an increase in the popularity of vaping among young people. About 37% of 12th graders reported vaping in 2018, compared with 28% in 2017. 

What are the dangers of vaping? 

While vaping isn’t new, there is still a lot that is unknown about the negative effects of vaping.  Some people tend to think that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes, but with the liquid cartridges that contain nicotine, it can be just as unsafe.  

Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco and when inhaled or ingested, it can negatively affect the brain development of youth and adolescents. Cigarette use by teens has been trending down in recent years, but teens who vape are more likely to begin smoking cigarettes in the future.  

Studies also suggest that vaping can lead to respiratory or gastrointestinal issues and even some types of cancers. EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury) can also occur. Symptoms of EVALI can include cough, shortness of breath, and chest pains.

Vaping statistic

Dr. Brendon Stile is an associate attending cardiothoracic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and an associate professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Weill Cornell Medicine. He speculates that because vaping can lead to inflammation, profound lung disease, and even a malfunction of the immune system in the lungs, those who vape may be more susceptible to pulmonary complications following a Coronavirus infection.

According to the FDA, youth and adolescents who vape are also at risk for seizures. This could be due to the list of toxic chemicals that are in many vape liquids. These chemicals can include: 

  • Nicotine  
  • Propylene glycol – commonly used in antifreeze, paint solvent, and in fog machines 
  • Acetaldehyde and formaldehyde – both are carcinogens, which are substances that are known to cause cancer 
  • Acrolein – a herbicide primarily used to kill weeds 
  • Diacetyl – a chemical linked to a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans aka “popcorn lung” 
  • Diethylene glycol – a toxic chemical used in antifreeze 
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, lead 
  • Cadmium – a toxic metal found in traditional cigarettes  
  • Benzene – a volatile organic compound (VOC) found in car exhaust 

What the CDC Recommends 

The CDC’s official recommendation is to avoid using vapes or other e-cigarette products 

The tanks used in vapes are not regulated by the FDA and therefore may contain harmful ingredients other than nicotine. 

How Teens Perceive Vaping 

Most teens believe that vaping is generally harmless. Some e-cigarette companies, such as JUUL, have been under fire for specifically targeting youth in their ads. Advertisements made multiple false claims that JUUL is safer than cigarettes and that the FDA would approve it soon. They also paid for advertising space on children’s networks, further pushing their message to adolescents. Vaping fact 

The product itself also plays into the appeal to youth. Vape pens look harmless and they’re cheap, which makes them less threatening to teens. The tanks of liquid also tend to come in a variety of sweet flavors that smell good, which attracts teens and adolescents. Currently, studies aren’t conclusive as to how vaping among the younger population connects to Coronavirus, but there has been an increase of younger patients who become very sick and require intubation and ventilation.

How to Prevent Your Child from Vaping 

The best way to prevent your child from vaping is to foster an environment of open communication with them. Let them know the dangers of vaping in a realistic and honest way that doesn’t rely on slippery slope logic or overt scare tactics.  

Be a support system for your child without judgment and they will feel more comfortable talking to you. If they tell you that someone in their class or group has started vaping, don’t freak out. Ask them how they feel about it and talk about the risks in a calm manner, if necessary.  

What to Do if Your Child is Vaping 

If you discover that your child is vaping, don’t overreact. The first instinct may be anger because you love your child and the anxiety of keeping them safe is stressful. It can also be incredibly frustrating if you have already talked to your child about the risks of vaping. However, your child will shut down if you start the conversation by yelling.  

Take a few breaths. When you’re in a calm place, ask your child about vaping. Give them room to talk without trying to fill in their silences. Let them know that they can be honest with you without fear of judgment. If they are honest, keep your promise and don’t judge or yell at them.  

Try to avoid lecturing them. Chances are they already know that you disapprove of their actions. Don’t let those feelings cloud your discussion with them.  

In your talk, try to determine if they are vaping because of a bigger issue.  Maybe they are stressed from schoolwork, their job or they have friends that pressured them. If this is the case, you can work with them to find a solution to their stress or help them gain the confidence to refuse peer pressure.  

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Teens and adolescents are facing more stress than ever and need our support. If you would like some help trying to navigate parenting in the 21st century, sign up for one of our upcoming Parenting Workshops.

If you need a fun break or some guidance on how to create a healthy lifestyle, sign up for our Wellness Wednesday Webinars 

 

Saying “No” Stems from Self-Worth

teen drinking peer pressure

We are taught from a young age to say no. We are told it’s okay to stand up for ourselves and go against the crowd, especially when it comes to drugs and alcohol. But when we are put in a position where it’s time to say no, it can feel difficult, scary, and at times, impossible. Why is saying no to drugs and alcohol so difficult?

It’s not easy to go against the masses, especially at an age where everything feels like life or death and fitting in is what helps you survive the day. But when we choose another person’s path, their perspective over ours, we diminish our own and project negativity into our future. It means we are too afraid to put ourselves first. To get a better understanding of what this looks like, let’s look at an example.

Jayden loves to draw and desperately wants to get into art school so he can become a successful graphic designer. However, his group of friends is not as motivated. They don’t hate on him for his dreams, but they aren’t doing anything to better Jayden’s future. Jayden’s friends drink most nights of the week and smoke weed every day. Jayden used to think the weed helped him with his creativity, but now, it just makes him tired and lethargic. He hasn’t been drawing every day like he used to, and he’s noticed changes in his work. He wants to tell his friends that he doesn’t want to smoke anymore, but he’s afraid they won’t want to be his friend if he does.

What’s Jayden’s main concern?

He’s afraid he will lose friends if he stands up for himself and says no. It may not seem like it but saying no stems from self-worth. He has the first part down by knowing he doesn’t want to continue the behavior, and he knows the behavior is harming his future. But Jayden is afraid of the possibility of walking away from his friend group. He’s putting more value on his friends and their opinions over his own well-being.

Let’s say Jayden’s worst fear comes true, that his friend group won’t hang out with him anymore. Are they really Jayden’s friends if they are willing to throw the friendship away over drugs? Absolutely not. If he does choose to walk away, it will be a blessing in disguise because it’s clear these friends aren’t loyal and caring. Some may even go so far as to say that rejection is protection. If Jayden does lose the friend group, it might make him sad and lonely at first, but the change can lead to new friends who are like-minded, supportive and encourage creativity. Wouldn’t you say Jayden is better off?

Here’s where most of us get stuck. We only think of the worst-case scenario, but when we do this, we forget about the other possibilities. What if Jayden tells his friends and they support him? What if they think it’s a great idea? Part of this scenario is about the integrity of his friends, but it also goes back to Jayden’s self-worth. If he believes in himself and knows he is a valuable friend, then it doesn’t matter if his friends choose to stay or leave because Jayden knows he will be successful and find new friends that truly care about him. But if his friends choose to stay, then he can continue building relationships with them as he grows and changes.

This is the key takeaway when it comes to connecting to your life’s purpose.

It’s about taking care of you and putting you first. When you do that, the rest will fall into place. This can seem scary because friends and hobbies can change, but doesn’t it seem worth it to do the things that are important to you? When we have confidence, when we believe in our convictions, and when we know we don’t want to do something, we find the strength to say no and walk away. That’s not to say the moment isn’t scary. It means we value ourselves more than the approval of others.

It’s Okay to Not Go to the Party

It’s okay to not go to the party, it’s okay to not accept the drink, and it’s okay to call home for a ride if you get stuck in a sticky situation. What’s not okay is dropping down to the level of others and saying yes simply because it feels easier. It’s okay to listen to the voice inside your heart and honor its wishes, even if it means losing friends in the process. It’s about realizing that sometimes we have to make sacrifices to gain the life we are dreaming of.

It can feel like life or death when it comes to saying no, and that’s okay! If you or an adolescent you know struggles with boundaries that are leading to addiction, professional help is always a great option. The Bougainvilla House offers adolescent behavioral health programs for individuals and families.

Call us today to see how we can help 954-764-7337,
or use our convenient Contact form.