We need to talk about youth and young adult use of Electronic Nicotine Devices and vaping
More youth now use e-cigarettes than any other form of tobacco. The US has finally reached a historic low for cigarette use, yet e-cigarettes threaten a new generation of Vermonters with addiction. Data from the CDC and the FDA shows that e-cigarette use among youth has skyrocketed in high school-age children by more than 75% between 2017 and 2018! The U.S. Surgeon General has declared youth e-cigarette use an epidemic. According to the Surgeon General’s Office they have, "never seen use of any substance by America's youth rise this rapidly." The time to talk to kids about e-cigarettes and vaping is now - make sure they have the right facts.
What is an "electronic cigarette"?
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol, which typically contains nicotine (though not always), flavorings, and other chemicals.
Some research suggests that e-cigarettes might be less harmful than cigarettes when people who regularly smoke switch to them as a complete replacement. However, because vaping is often promoted as a “safer” alternative to cigarettes, teens are getting the impression that they are safe. Youth and young adults should be reminded that almost all e-cigarettes or vaping devices contain nicotine. Nicotine in any form is a highly addictive drug. One of the most popular brands among youth is Juul. Juul brand devices ALWAYS contain nicotine (Juul just announced a decision to cut back on flavor and social media promotion as a result of government and public pressure). In addition to use causing an addiction to nicotine, research suggests that nicotine can even prime the brain’s reward system, putting people who vape at greater risk for addiction to other drugs.
What should adults do?
Educate yourself so you can have informed conversations with youth about how vaping or using e-cigarettes is not safe. Youth in our communities often have already internalized a lot of misinformation, so talk early and keep talking. Keep redirecting them to good information to help them make informed choices. Here are a few talking points:
for Schools & youth educational programs
For schools or youth educational programs:
Standford Medicine - Tobacco Prevention Toolkit
Catch My Breathe Youth E-cigarette Prevention Program