What You Need To Know About E-Cigarettes To Protect Your Children
The device called an e-cigarette is a big story in the news these days. They appeared on the market several years ago as a way to help smokers quit and now they are reaping in billions of dollars in sales every year. Controversies surround these devices; not least of which is the harm they may pose to children and teens. So what is an e-cigarette and what do you need to know about them to protect your children? Get the facts and talk to your kids about e-cigarettes before they experiment on their own.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
An e-cigarette is a device that uses a battery to warm a small vial of nicotine dissolved in liquid. The user inhales the vapor to get the nicotine and exhales water vapor. The idea is that a smoker can use an e-cigarette to get a nicotine fix without inhaling the thousands of harmful compounds that are in cigarette smoke and which cause health problems. Studies as to whether they really help people quit are ongoing. There is no definitive answer yet, but what seems to be clear is that e-cigarettes are useful for some smokers and not for others.
Are E-Cigarettes Harmful To Kids?
Although they don’t produce smoke, e-cigarettes are still devices that deliver a hit of a one of the most addictive substances, nicotine. Because e-cigarettes are marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking, most young people inaccurately assume there are no risks in using one. Nicotine is highly addictive and any child or teen using an e-cigarette is at significant risk of becoming addicted to it. There is also the risk of poisoning. Nicotine is poisonous in high doses and the liquid in the e-cigarette can be toxic.
Nicotine is a drug that affects the nervous system, the brain, and the heart. Someone abusing nicotine will experience an elevation in blood pressure and heart rate. High doses can cause a dangerous heart arrhythmia. In rare cases, and with large doses, this arrhythmia can be fatal. With their smaller bodies, kids are more vulnerable to these risks than adults are.
How Do I Protect My Kids from E-Cigarettes?
When it comes to any kind of drug, knowledge is power. Once you understand the risks and dangers associated with e-cigarettes, you can share them with your kids. You should have regular conversations with your kids about substance abuse, alcohol, peer pressure, smoking and other issues they face as children and as teens. Bring e-cigarettes into the conversation and make sure they understand that these devices are not safe.
Also make sure your kids understand how e-cigarette makers are specifically trying to target them to get them hooked on nicotine. The manufacturers make these devices with an array of flavors that mimic fruit, candy, cookies, and specific products that children love, even Girl Scout cookies. The companies making e-cigarettes have no qualms about targeting kids and teens in this way and they even sponsor events, like rock concerts, that attract young people.
Despite the risks, teens and even children are trying e-cigarettes. According to surveys, one in ten high school students has already tried e-cigarettes. As a parent, it is your job to stay on top of the changing landscape of harms and risks posed to your children and to protect them. By learning about e-cigarettes you can help your kids understand all the reasons they should avoid these devices. The risks of nicotine use are too great and we still don’t understand the full danger of e-cigarettes. Keep yourself and your children knowledgeable and you’ll empower them to make better choices.
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