Vaping: A few MUST-KNOWS
Gen-X had smoking and now Gen-Z has vaping. These addictive habits are so wide-spread, and while we’ve had at least a few decades to learn about cigarettes, there has been hardly any time to become knowledgeable on vaping devices. I’m hoping this post will serve as a source of information to all teens regarding the drug rather than be seen as either encouraging or discouraging it.
Is it legal?
In Australia, if you’re over 18 you can e-cigarettes legally. If you’re under 18, which most of you are, it is illegal. This is regardless if the product contains nicotine or not. Police also have the right to confiscate vapes from minors.
What are their purposes?
Vaping was originally created as an alternative to smoking. They began to be marketed to assist in quitting smoking however there has not been sufficient evidence to support this. Now they are mainly used for recreational purposes. Companies who create these products make them with profit in mind.
Why does it appeal to teens?
Vaping, unlike smoking, doesn’t have a lot of negative connotations. Yes, teens know they’re bad but they do not know to what extent they are bad simply because there is very limited research on the topic. It has also become socially acceptable and sometimes even encouraged depending on the crowd you surround yourself in. First-time use is often due to the range of flavours that are available. These are very similar to alco-pops that are also marketed to teens and young adults. Nicotine, the drug in vapes, can also be sought after as a coping mechanism for anxiety and stress. Continued use is more often than not because the individual craves the nicotine. Vapes are easy to hide since they are usually shaped like USBs or pens, adding to the appeal and convenience.
How many people are actually vaping?
Vaping is on the rise. You can look around and see it for yourself. The data also backs this up. In 2013, 5% of high school students vaped regularly. Only 6 years later in 2019, 28% of high school students vaped regularly. Now in 2020, 73% of 15-17 year olds have tried/borrowed a vape from a friend. That’s only 8 kids in your class of 30 that have never vaped.
Why is vaping the ‘drug of choice’?
Vapes are probably the most common drugs used by teens because of two reasons. The first being their price. Disposables can be anywhere between $2 and $20 each depending on whether they are bought in bulk or not. This is the price advertised on the HQD website however they are a bit more expensive when bought from other teens. The second reason is that they are accessible. Vapes can be bought online if the buyer simply fakes their age. These can be delivered to PO boxes or straight to their house without requiring sign off. Governments are working to improve this though. These can also be easily bought from friends, often advertised by other teens on Snapchat.
How many vapes are equal to a cigarette?
Disposable vapes, often referred to as ‘stigs’, have 5% nicotine content making 15 hits the equivalent of 1 cigarette. One disposable can contain between 300 and 1000 hits.
What are the effects of nicotine usage and vaping?
Other than nicotine being an addictive chemical, it is a stimulant. This means some of the effects include:
- High blood pressure
- Increased chance of smoking
- Drug dependence (addiction)
- Lung disease (and cancer)
- Adrenaline spike (leading to heart attacks)
- Poor teeth and gum health
- Damage cells
- Interferes with brain development of those under 25
- Decreases ability to learn and remember things
- Narrows arteries
- Produce less saliva
- Flavouring agents have dangerous chemicals such as nickel, lead, and tin
- Lowers impulse control
- Reduces life expectancy by 5 years
- Heightens anxiety
- Suppresses appetite
A final effect of using disposables is on the environment. They are made of plastic and contain toxic waste that is very difficult to decompose especially at the rate they are used.
I hope this information proves useful to you and that you can make informed decisions in your teen years! Remember be yourself and don’t do things just because others are.
If you’re looking to help out a friend who may vape, check this out