Seeing Through the Smoke: Vaping is Harming Our Children

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It is no secret that young people are susceptible to the multitude of misinformation that vaping is harmless.  Whether they are getting that information from social media, regular media or from their friends, they are being misled to believe that vaping is safe and that they are in no danger at all.  However, we now know that just the opposite is true.  E-cigarettes and vaping products contain nicotine, which is an addictive substance. 

“E-cigarettes can have even higher concentrations of nicotine if the person uses an extra-strength version or increases the voltage, which increases the nicotine delivery,” said Dr. Mark Calarco, National Medical Director for Clinical Diagnostics.  “We must take a grassroots approach to address the rise in vaping among our youth. Every medical provider who has an interaction with a young person, whether in the ER or during a sports physical, should be asking them about their tobacco use and vaping,” said Calarco. He believes that this is an opportunity to warn them about potential health risks.  

When vaping first became available, the dangers of its use were not recognized. “Many people felt that it was a cleaner and safer delivery device for nicotine,” said Dr. Robert Goldberg, a Pulmonologist with Mission Community Hospital. “Since it was not regulated by the government, companies were able to create flavors and colors which catered towards children, creating a new population of nicotine-addicted individuals. The amount of nicotine delivered in a typical vaping dose is much greater than that of typical cigarettes. Higher nicotine content leads to more addiction. Now that the dangers of vaping are becoming more evident, with more people developing severe respiratory illnesses, further efforts are being made to curb its use,” Goldberg added.

The FDA has recently been authorized to start regulating its use. Various government entities, including local governments, are trying to develop regulations to decrease the availability of these dangerous potentially life-threatening devices. Hopefully, further efforts will be made to prevent children from trying vaping. Some lawmakers are already working to outlaw flavors and colors which cater to children, and just recently Walmart announced they would stop selling vaping and tobacco products.

Dr. Michael Katz from the St. Jude Medical Center believes that physicians have an obligation to screen for vaping behavior in adolescents, and resources need to be available to help children stop if they have already started this dangerous habit.  “Currently practicing physicians were taught in medical school about all of the negative health effects associated with traditional cigarette smoking,” Katz said.  “In practice, we still continue to see the detrimental effects of traditional cigarette smoking in our patients. But now electronic cigarettes and vaping products have become commonplace. It is understandable that physicians have felt relief when some patients are using electronic cigarettes as a tool for quitting traditional cigarettes. Less exposure to the combustible products in traditional cigarettes, known to cause multiple cancers and cardiovascular disease, seems like a good thing. Unfortunately, we are now seeing another problem with these products. A sharp rise in the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products among adolescents, well documented, means that a whole new population of people is being exposed to nicotine, a substance that powerfully induces central nervous system addiction,” he added.

Katz believes that physicians need a second wave of education regarding the harms, known and unknown, related to e-cigarettes and vaping. “Products being marketed to adolescents, a population vulnerable to developing an addiction, are being exposed to potentially harmful substances, in addition to being saddled with the emotional and behavioral weight of addiction. The time to act is now before long term studies delineate all the negative health consequences of the substances in e-cigarettes and vaping cartridges. By then, we will find ourselves caring for another large population of people causing harm to themselves because of chemical and behavioral addiction. Physicians need to educate families about the downside to chemical addiction, and the potential harms of the substances in these products,” Katz said.

In addition to the risk of nicotine addiction, vaping has a multitude of chemicals that are extremely unhealthy. The treatment for vaping is the same regardless of the tobacco product. The treatment can include medication-assisted therapies, behavioral modifications, and nicotine patches.

-John Riddle

John Riddle is an author of 34 books (for traditional publishers), His byline has appeared in major publications all across the U.S., and he has written articles for over 200 Websites. Since 1996 he has been working out of his home office in Delaware as a full-time freelance writer. For nearly 15 years he taught at Christian and secular writing conferences throughout the United States.  You can visit his Amazon Author Page at this link:

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