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The Dangers of Vaping

By Fizza Zaidi


Over the last few years, vaping has increased in popularity, with many companies claiming it is a healthy and safe alternative to smoking, however this is not the case. The CDC categorizes vaping under the broader term of “e-cigarettes,” stating, “E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol, or mix of small particles in the air. They usually contain nicotine, flavourings, and other chemicals” (CDC, 2020). In 2015, the U.S Surgeon General reported that e-cigarette use among high schooler’s had increased by 900%. Most of them don’t smoke. Many teenagers believe that vaping is safer than traditional smoking, but numerous studies have found that they can be just as bad. As of January 21st 2020 . Teenagers need to be informed about the serious risks e-cigarettes can pose as they are appealing to teens, they contain nicotine which affects brain development, as well as containing dangerous chemicals and carcinogens.


Firstly, e-cigarettes appeal to many adolescents. The vaping industry markets to teenagers by making their products in fun flavours such as mango, mint and strawberry, to mask nicotine and tobacco. E-cigarettes can also look like regular cigarettes, pens, USB flash drives, and other various items. The fact that these vaping devices are easily concealable and come in many flavors, encourages teens to vape without fear of getting caught. It is harder for schools to enforce rules about vaping, and for parents to know if their children are vaping. There is no denying that the appeal of e-cigarettes is one of the major reasons that teenagers vape.


Secondly, most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance which harms the developing brains of teens. The brain doesn't fully develop until the age of 25.The American Heart Association describes the effect nicotine has on the developing brain, stating, “Nicotine can change adolescents’ brain cell activity, as well as affect their attention span, learning, and memory. It can also worsen anxiety, irritability, and impulsivity” (American Heart Association). Many teenagers are already familiar with these issues. Nicotine will not only worsen these effects, but it will also impact their decision making skills and risk for addiction in the future.


Thirdly, the addictive nature of nicotine causes nicotine dependence. The younger one starts using products that contain nicotine, the more addicted they become. Nicotine activates receptors in your brain which releases a type of neurotransmitter, dopamine. It is made by the human body to send messages through nerve cells and plays a part in how humans feel pleasure. Dopamine has a “feel-good” effect. After nicotine is consumed, it releases dopamine. The effects of this are temporary. Once the “feel good” effect ends, one wants to chase that feeling and experience the dopamine repeatedly. This triggers a cycle of repetition and dependency. When one tries to stop, your body goes through unpleasant mental and physical symptoms, such as intense cravings, sweating, nausea, depression, weight gain and trouble sleeping. These symptoms are known as nicotine withdrawal and make it extremely hard to quit using nicotine.


Lastly, vaping affects your health in the long run. E-cigarette vapor contains diacetyl,a chemical that links to a serious lung disease. They also contain carcinogens and heavy metals. According to the CDC, as of February 18th, 2020, there have been 68 deaths that can be linked to vaping as well as 2,807 hospitalized visits due to lung injury caused by vaping. Ingesting all these chemicals, as well as being exposed to secondhand smoke, can cause severe health issues, including cancer and lung disease.


Since e-cigarettes were only made in 2003, and they became popular in 2007, doctors and scientists are still uncertain of the long term health risks. Being exposed to nicotine through vaping will affect a teenager’s developing brain, damaging their lungs as well as possibly causing cancer. In conclusion, there are so many negative aspects, targeting teenagers in specific as mentioned throughout the article, so it is safer not to take the risk.


References



3. Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults. (2020, September 29). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html


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