Teenagers are renowned for taking a risk. The most recent is vaping or smoking electronic cigarettes. And while teenagers might think vaping isn’t a huge concern, it might have a negative impact on their health.
E-cigarettes also called e-cigs, Juuls and vape pens – are battery-powered devices that heat liquid concoctions to create an inhalable vapor. They’re becoming so common, it’s likely your teen or their friends have tried them.
Whether in cigarettes or e-cigarettes, nicotine is toxic, it is an addictive stimulant that, with long-term use, results in elevated BP and a higher risk of heart attacks. Vaping has the potential to introduce a large number of young individuals in Pakistan and also all over the world to a life-long nicotine habit, putting them on a highway to future tobacco abuse. Tobacco cessation is of utmost public health importance, but vaping is not the way to achieve it.
According to gsthr.org, There has been a very slight downward trend in current smoking prevalence in the general population in Pakistan. In 2000 the overall prevalence was estimated to be just under 23%; this reduced to 19% in 2015, with a projection to decrease slightly further to 18.6% by 2025. The trend for men’s smoking prevalence has decreased, from 37% to 35% between 2000 and 2015, and is projected to stay at roughly this level by 2025 according to WHO trend data. By contrast, women’s smoking during the same period decreased from 8% in 2000 to 3% in 2015 and is projected to be 1.4% by 2025.
According to health researchers,
- The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults.
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.1
- E-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.
- Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
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Why Are E-Cigarettes So Popular With Teens in Pakistan?
E-cigarettes have been the most popular tobacco product for Pakistani youths since 2018. What’s contributing to their skyrocketing popularity?
- Teens think vaping is harmless: Many teens consider e-cigarettes safe because they don’t contain tobacco or emit secondhand smoke, although they do give off a mist. Even worse, many parents think vaping isn’t as harmful to their child’s health.
- E-cigs taste great: Kids are attracted to the sweet flavorings. There are hundreds of flavor options – such as cotton candy, gummy bear, and strawberry milk.
- They look innocent: Many companies, such as the popular Juul brand, package e-cigarettes to resemble a pen or a flash drive, making it less likely that parents and teachers will notice it.
- They’re cheap: E-cigarettes can also be cheaper per use than tobacco cigarettes.
- E-cigarettes (used to be) unregulated: Up until a few years ago, anyone could purchase e-cigarettes, including minors. The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan should take notice of vaping which should be banned in Pakistan.
How vaping works
A device known as a “vape” creates an aerosol that is breathed through the mouth and expelled through the mouth or nose by heating nicotine, flavoring agents, and any other compounds. In this way, vaping makes it easier to get these compounds to the lungs, where they can then be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Because they don’t include tobacco, tar, or other recognized carcinogens, vapes vary from cigarettes in terms of what they contain. They do, however, contain additional new elements, such as silicates, aldehydes, and heavy metals, which are poisonous to humans and may eventually result in lung damage.
Vapes, or more broadly, e-cigarettes, have historically been marketed as a smoking cessation aid by assisting users with their nicotine withdrawal symptoms. E-cigarettes are therefore a part of the “harm reduction approach” to quitting tobacco, which encourages the use of gum or vaping as substitutes for traditional nicotine delivery methods.
Vaping is by no means a safe practice. Nicotine is harmful in and of itself, despite the fact that they are safer than cigarettes because they don’t contain tobacco or other known carcinogens. Long-term use of this highly addictive stimulant leads to high blood pressure, an increased risk of heart attacks, and serious blood vessel narrowing in the limbs. It also causes craving and withdrawal.
Other experts have also argued that vaping is a more effective method of delivering nicotine because it lessens the harsh mouth and throat sensation that comes from smoking, which encourages users to take more of the drug.
Another major concern is the acute lung injury associated with e-cigarette use. Beginning in the middle of 2019, authorities documented more than 2,800 cases of lung injuries linked to vaping in the US that were severe enough to require hospitalization or result in death. Although the precise cause was unknown, research by specialists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered substantial linkages between pollutants, especially in the bodies of those who were vaping marijuana products, and a specific component of vaping fluid called vitamin E acetate.
How Does Vaping Affect Health?
E-cigarettes were initially promoted as aids in helping people kick the tobacco habit. There isn’t much scientific evidence to support that assertion, though. E-cigarettes contain just as much, or even more, of the addictive substance nicotine as well as other harmful ingredients.
The fact that nicotine is just as addictive as heroin may surprise you. Dependence on it poses a threat to maturing adolescent brains in particular.
Nicotine use alters the chemistry of the brain. It may have an impact on the areas of the brain necessary for impulse control, decision-making, and the ability to focus and learn. Teenagers who use nicotine may also develop other addictions later in life and start smoking regular cigarettes.
Because nicotine is highly addictive, it’s hard for people to quit once they start using it. Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Intense cravings
- Anxiety and irritability
- Restlessness and difficulty concentrating
- Constipation or diarrhea
How Can You Talk To Your Teen About Vaping?
Talk to your adolescent and create awareness about the dangers of vaping in society. Start by engaging your child in a conversation, not lecturing. Try to get a feel for what’s going on at your child’s school or in their social circle. Answer their questions and troubleshoot social obstacles they may face in saying no to vaping.
Discussion points may include:
- Vaping is addictive: Nicotine creates an addiction that hooks you, which makes you dependent on the substance.
- Vaping is toxic: Talk about the types of toxic substances that are found in e-cigarettes.
- Vaping affects the brain: Teens may not realize how nicotine may permanently affect a developing brain.
- Your story: If you use nicotine products, talk about how you wish you never started or your struggle to stop.
Quitting nicotine by yourself is difficult. Because it’s an addiction, it involves not only getting over the physical withdrawal symptoms but also changing behavior.
Your teen may benefit from a smoking or tobacco cessation program, which offers individual and group support. Ask your teen’s doctor for a local recommendation and govt should conduct seminars to stop E-cigarettes in colleges and Universities.