How much do you know about vaping?
Here are five things you need to know as a parent about vaping.
- The Source of the “Smoke”: E-cigarettes contain a vaporizer and nicotine cartridge that produce an aerosolized mixture of flavored liquids and nicotine, which is inhaled by the user. Nothing is burned, so no smoke is actually produced. Instead, it’s the vapor that you see coming from the device (some devices do not product a visible vapor).
- Secondhand E-cigarette Vapor Is Toxic: While the water vapor itself may be less harmful than ordinary cigarette smoke, it is still harmful to breathe in. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, harmful toxicants, including carcinogens, formaldehyde and metal particles have been found in e-cigarette emissions.
- They Made to Be Fun and Enticing: E-cigarettes can look like traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars and pipes, or they can be hidden in common gadgets like flashlights, flash drives or pens. The nicotine cartridges contain flavors like vanilla, chocolate, fruit, pina colada and bubble gum, which makes them a lot more palatable than the smoky nicotine flavor of cigarettes.
- They Are Completely Unregulated: Not only are there no federal age limits for purchasing e-smoke devices, there is also no regulation about what goes into the products, including harmful chemicals, nicotine levels and other additives. “In some states, kids of any age are able to purchase e-cigarettes in stores, mall kiosks, conveniences stores, or online,” according to The American Academy of Pediatrics. Some products contact three to four times the amount of nicotine found in traditional cigarettes/tobacco products.
- Liquid Nicotine Can Be Fatal: Liquid nicotine, the solution that is used to refill these devices, is sold in colorful, and often sweet-smelling packaging that is enticing to young children. It looks and smells like candy, but drinking even a teaspoon can kill an infant. Most states don’t require child-safe packaging for liquid nicotine.
Refills act like a nicotine patch on skin contact. “There are three routes of exposure that (are toxic to) children,” says Dr. Kyran Quinlan, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. “If they put it in their mouth, even without swallowing, it will be absorbed into the mucous membranes, just like nicotine gum. If they swallow, it will be absorbed in the intestinal tract. If they spill it on their skin, it’s absorbed through the skin just like a nicotine patch.”
Symptoms of liquid nicotine poisoning include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Trouble breathing
- Drooling and excessive salivary production
If you suspect your child may be affected, call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.
Source: Family Education
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