Vaping: Understanding the Risk & Tips to Avoid Use

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By: SUPE Editorial Team

Vaping is when a person uses a handheld electronic device to breathe a mist or vapor into their lungs. For example, e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other electronic nicotine delivery systems heat liquid nicotine and countless additives into an aerosol that is then inhaled. While vaping may be presented as a healthy alternative to traditional cigarette smoking, this is not the case.

It’s essential to understand the risks involved with vaping to help you make informed decisions.

What are the Health Risks Associated with Vaping Nicotine Products

Along with nicotine, e-liquids and flavoring often contain other ingredients. This can include chemicals that cause cancer, chemicals known to cause lung disease, heavy metals like nickel, lead, and cadmium, and tiny particles that can get deep into your lungs.

The dangers of vaping nicotine can include some of the following:

  • Asthma and other lung conditions
  • Lung scarring because of the chemicals in the flavoring
  • Organ damage: lungs, heart, and brain
  • Vaping tends to lead to cigarette smoking
  • Cancer is linked to some ingredients in e-liquids
  • Nicotine addiction

Nicotine Addiction

When you become dependent on or addicted to nicotine and stop using it, your body and brain must then adjust to not having the drug. This leads to nicotine withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms can include irritability, restlessness, anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, and nicotine cravings. The withdrawal symptoms are only relieved with more nicotine.

It’s also common for your age group to turn to vaping to deal with stress or anxiety. It becomes a cycle of dependence. Most high school students try it because a friend offered it to them.

How Do You Handle the Peer Pressure from Others

Pressure to vape nicotine can come from your immediate friends, people within your friend group, or other students or young people.

Your parents or another adult may have spoken to you about vaping and the risks involved. They may have spoken to you about peer pressure and how to handle it when it occurs. If not, consider some of the following tips:

  • Plan ahead: Prepare your response in advance if you know you’ll be in situations involving people who are vaping to avoid being caught off guard.
  • Learn to say “no”: You shouldn’t have to explain or apologize to good friends for refusing to vape.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people: Stick with friends who share your values; they’ll support you in challenging situations.
  • Blame your parents humorously: Use humor to deflect peer pressure by jokingly attributing your refusal to parental restrictions.
  • Leave if necessary: If a situation feels unsafe, don’t hesitate to remove yourself from it for your well-being.
  • Seek help if needed: If you are constantly being pressured to vape and are unsure what to do, don’t hesitate to involve a responsible adult for assistance.

Resources to Consider

American Lung Association Logo

American Lung Association

The American Lung Association provides teens and young people with extensive resources to help them quit vaping or smoking.

Truth Initiative Logo

Truth Initiative

Truth Initiative offers teens and young adults free resources on their website and by texting DITCHVAPE to 88709.

Smokefree.gov Logo

Smokefree.gov

Smokefree.gov provides online chat, helps you build a plan to quit, and other valuable resources.

Quit The Hit Logo

Quit The Hit

Quit The Hit provides 30 days of online vaping cessation support in groups of 10 to 15 teens with active moderation by a cessation guide.

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