This headline recently appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald after a Blue Mountains Grammar school student collapsed and had a seizure in the school toilets while vaping. The occurrence happened as a result of inhaling a massive dose of nicotine.
What is Vaping?
For those who don’t know, Vaping is the term used when aerosol is inhaled in order to simulate the act of smoking. This is done through a battery-operated device known as an e-cigarette or ‘vape’. A liquid (or juice) is heated by the device until it becomes an aerosol made up of a fine spray of chemicals that then enters the body via the lungs.
The dangers of vaping.
Like regular cigarettes vaping devices contain the highly addictive substance nicotine. According to the American Lung association studies have found even e-cigarettes that claim to be nicotine-free still contain trace amounts of the substance. Some vape liquids contain almost four times more nicotine than the amount found in a regular cigarette. According to a John Hopkins medical study, the problem with Vaping devices is users can intake more nicotine than they would from a combustible tobacco product. This is done by purchasing extra-strength cartridges with a higher concentration of nicotine, or by increasing the e-cigarette’s voltage to get a greater hit of the substance.
Other associated dangers are the uncertainty of what chemicals actually make up the vapour due to additional chemicals forming as the vape juice heats up. Vapes are being used for Illicit drugs like LSD, GHB, ketamine and marijuana. When the batteries in e-cigarettes overheat they’ve been known to catch fire or explode. Even a seemingly harmless ingredient in the vape juice, vitamin E has been found to stick to the lungs and cause damage because it’s an oil-based product that’s not supposed to be inhaled.
Although we’re not yet fully aware of the long-term effects vaping will have on our physical health the Health life recovery in San Diego say “the effects of cigarette vape pens can be as severe as irreversible lung and brain damage.”
Vaping and the Law
It is against the law to advertise and promote vaping products in Australia yet many companies are finding ways to target youth through social media platforms.
Purchasing vape products containing nicotine without a doctor’s prescription is illegal in Queensland. It’s also illegal to smoke in schools and within a 5-meter radius of an educational or childcare facility. Despite these laws, e-cigarettes are being produced in colourful and creative designs and vape juices are available in thousands of flavours such as bubblegum, cherry and cinnamon in order to appear cool and fun to youth.
Talking to your children about vaping
It’s important our children are informed of the dangers of vaping but in order to do so, it needs to be approached calmly. A good way to start the conversation is while doing an activity together, like driving or preparing a meal so as to keep things casual and relaxed. You might want to use something you saw in a TV show or on the news as a chance to bring up the issue.
It’s important you don’t accuse them of anything even if you think they may have tried vaping and don’t go through their space looking for evidence, because it can undermine their trust. By avoiding judgment or lecturing they are more likely to have a conversation with you. Be sure and listen to their point of view and keep your body language and tone respectful. It’s important that you’re honest with them about potential harm and that they understand how much you care about them and want them to be healthy and safe.
In my experience, it’s a good idea to spend a few minutes in prayer beforehand asking God for his wisdom and guidance before you begin the conversation. (Hebrews 4:16)
Here are some helpful resources for you:
Talking about vaping with young people.
What’s in an E-Cigarette?
Vape Flavors and Vape Juice: What You Need to Know
Student collapses while vaping in school toilets due to massive nicotine dose
Vaping Drugs: What Drugs Can Be Vaped?
Smoking laws in Queensland
Vaping – what you should know
Donna Newell, College Pastor