(WHTM) — You may have noticed new public service announcements helping parents to spark up a conversation with kids about the dangers of vaping.
“This campaign is particularly targeting middle school students because this is an age where kids either may not have tried vaping yet or they’ve just dabbled in it and they’re not hooked yet,” said Johns Hopkins pediatric pulmonologist Dr. Christy Sadreameli. “It’s an age where parents can have more impact.”
Sadreameli says she sees the devastating impacts of e-cigarettes on young people firsthand.
“One thing I like to tell kids is it’s not just harmless water vapor,” she said. “The aerosol from vaping devices contains heavy metals. A lot of the flavorings can put off toxic chemicals.”
The American Lung Association says in 2020, 1 in 5 high school-aged kids vaped. In middle school, the number was 1 in every 21.
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Most kids have a misconception that it’s not as bad as traditional smoking.
“I hear that from kids all the time,” Sadreameli said. “In my clinic, I often have to debunk that.”
Vaping can be harmful to brain development and lead to chronic lung issues. Sadreameli says it’s also leading to more asthma and, in some cases, seizures from nicotine addiction.
She says if your child is vaping, it might not be obvious. Some products don’t have a smell associated with them, and many of the devices might look like a USB drive.
“It is, unfortunately, kind of easy to sneak these,” she said.
For more information, including tips for talking to kids about vaping, click here.
The American Lung Association says to look for the following:
- Presence of unfamiliar technology, online purchases, or packaging
- Faint sweet or fruity scents
- Behavioral and mood changes
- Increased irritability or restlessness
- Cutting back on caffeine
- Desire for flavor due to taste bud degradation
- Increased thirst