Teen Vaping – Awareness and Prevention

Parental awareness and preventive conversations are essential to keeping our teens safe from vaping.  This health concern has been escalating in the news, and parents need to know this common habit among teens is causing severe lung injuries.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported over 2,000 lung injury associated cases with the use of electronic cigarette or vaping products in 49 states (all except Alaska). In the November 5, 2019 briefing, the CDC reported 39 deaths in 24 states, including Florida, where one in four teens have vaped or used e-cigarettes in the last year.

Dr. Yanerys Colón-Cortés, a pediatric pulmonologist with USF Health, who sees patients with vaping related illnesses shares her expertise on e-cigarettes and what parents need to know.

E-cigarettes – How they work

An e-cigarette or vaping device is an electronic device that heats a liquid to produce an aerosol. A heating coil vaporizes the liquid and that vapor condenses into droplets creating the cloud for inhaling. E-cigarettes and vaping products come in a variety of teen inspired flavors in many types and sizes, making them easy to conceal.

In 2007, the e-cigarette introduced in the U.S. looked more like a cigarette; however, today, they blend in with modern technology, appearing similar to USB devices. Newer e-cigarettes have pre-filled pods available for purchase. Some have an adapter for dabs (resin, semiliquid) and liquid containing nicotine or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical responsible for the psychological symptoms of marijuana.

“We know that many of these liquids used to vape contain harmful chemicals, either as the main component or as an additive to the product. Some of these are currently under investigation by the CDC as potential toxins causing the acute lung injury associated with the use of these e-cigarettes products,” Dr. Colón-Cortés said.

Symptoms of Possible Lung Injury

The severity of lung injury symptoms varies by patient. USF Health care providers are caring for patients with a range of symptoms, in pursuit of preventing a more severe lung injury from occurring. From the cases reported, we know patients may display the following symptoms:

  • Respiratory symptoms: shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, hemoptysis (coughing up blood) and breathing fast.
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms: vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Almost all of the patients have: fever, chills, weight loss, and fatigue/malaise.

The current recommendation from the CDC for the prevention of lung injury is avoiding any e-cigarette or vaping products. “When we encourage teens to stop vaping in the clinic, and they do indeed stop, we see a correlation with their health improving,” Dr. Colón-Cortés said.

Talking to Your Teen

Vaping is all over the news these days so if you want to have a conversation with your teen, start by asking your teen what they know to gauge their knowledge and understanding of the potential health risks. Try your best to have an approachable, comfortable conversation discussing the possible consequences. Use trusted resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to share more information with your teen.

If your child is exhibiting concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to take them to urgent or emergency care. At your next check-up with your pediatrician or pulmonologist, encourage an open discussion about vaping as an informative and preventive discussion with your teen.

This blog is a follow up to our first blog, Parent Guide to Juuling (Vaping)You can watch our USF Health and Wellness series Facebook LIVE with Dr. Colón-Cortés, who recently provided insight into vaping and its serious impact on teen’s health and well-being.

Also, check out our recent Health Checkup on Vaping with Dr. John Dunning, cardiothoracic surgeon for USF Health.

Call USF Health Pediatrics at (813) 259-8700 to make an appointment.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap