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Posted in San Diego News on December 3, 2019
Vaping is a phenomenon that quickly took off on a global scale. Using electronic devices to inhale nicotine vapors is something millions of people currently do – including tens of thousands of teenagers. According to a 2018 survey of more than 44,000 high school students, 37% of seniors admitted to vaping. While dishonest marketing tactics have led many young people to believe vaping is safe, science has proven otherwise. Recognize the dangers your child could face due to vaping.
Teenagers are often under the misconception that vaping does not involve nicotine, largely because many e-cigarette companies marketed their products as safer than cigarettes. Surveys at high schools around the U.S. have found a distressing number of students who believe devices such as JUULs contain 0% nicotine. In reality, JUUL is one of the worst vaping devices on the market in terms of nicotine: it has more than twice the amount of nicotine concentrate as other e-cigarette brands.
Inhaling nicotine at a young age can have permanent negative impacts on the brain, according to studies. Nicotine disrupts the way the brain works, interrupting communications between neurotransmitters and receptors – namely, the receptor in charge of respiration, heart rate, alertness, muscle movement and memory. In a young person’s brain, nicotine can interfere with healthy development and have long-term effects. Nicotine can also create a dependency in which the brain needs nicotine for normal functioning. Nicotine is highly addictive. Vaping, therefore, can increase the odds of your child smoking cigarettes in the future.
Vaping has been connected to multiple serious (and some permanent) lung illnesses. One is bronchiolitis obliterans, or popcorn lung. Popcorn lung earned its name from cases of this irreversible lung condition arising in popcorn factories, where workers were breathing in a chemical used to create butter flavoring: diacetyl. Although vaping companies say they do not use diacetyl in their products, studies have shown its presence in about 92% of vape cartridge flavors. Inhaling diacetyl regularly over time can irritate the lungs and cause a buildup of scar tissue, narrowing the airway and causing related health complications.
Another serious lung illness connected to vaping is EVALI: e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been tracking the outbreak since the first documented case in April 2019. As of December 17th, 2019, 54 people have lost their lives due to EVALI. The CDC has received notices of 2,506 related hospitalizations. EVALI can cause symptoms such as chest pain, breathing problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and weight loss. Although the exact cause of the illness remains unknown, the CDC is warning users against using all vaping products, but especially those that contain vitamin E acetate and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Health problems from inhaling harmful substances are not your child’s only vaping-related risks. Risks also extend to serious or fatal injuries from exploding e-cigarette devices. Exploding e-cigarettes stem from battery explosions. Defective lithium-ion batteries can cause vape pens to catch fire or explode without warning, either during use or while in the teen’s pocket. Vape explosions have caused catastrophic injuries such as broken jaws, lost teeth, severe burns and permanent disfigurement.
As a parent, it is important to recognize the very real dangers of vaping. Teach your child all the significant health and safety risks associated with e-cigarettes. Do not assume your teen does not vape. A large percentage of e-cigarette users are young people. Ask your child about vaping. If you notice signs of your child vaping, take immediate action. Discontinuing the use of a vape device could prevent or stop related health problems. If your child suffers a serious injury or illness related to vaping, contact an attorney to find out if you have grounds for a product liability lawsuit against the e-cigarette company.