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Parents are increasingly concerned about their teen’s vaping habits
Parents were already worried about their teen vaping nicotine. In fact, vaping has increased to record numbers among teens in recent years. Now with the growing trend of vaping potent marijuana products, parents are beside themselves.
Teens have turned toward vaping in droves, thinking that e-cigarettes are a safer way to ingest nicotine. Instead of inhaling the toxins found in cigarettes, vaping was thought to present fewer health dangers. Teens were drawn to the sweetly flavored vaping products that came on the market. In all, these factors drove huge sales of vaping products to teens.
It wasn’t long before vaping was also used as a tool for ingesting potent THC oils. These cannabis products are so strong that some teens have had extreme adverse effects when using them. This includes lung damage that is a direct result of vaping marijuana.
As parents become more aware of the dangers of these vape products they are searching for answers from health leaders. How can parents gain control over their teen vaping marijuana?
What is Vaping?
Vaping involves the use of electronic devices that emit a liquid form of nicotine into vapor form. The thought behind these e-cigs was to provide a safer option for smokers who were trying to stop smoking cigarettes. It was assumed that the vapor being inhaled through vaping was simply a water vapor.
As it turns out, this vapor is not just made of water. Instead it is now known that the vapor includes fine particles that are toxic. In fact, health agencies are now warning people of the dangers of vape products to the lungs, heart, and brain.
Added to the health issues caused by vaping is the highly addictive nature of vaping. Teens have turned to e-cigs in large numbers—rising 78% among high school age kids in 2018. It stands to reason why parents are now so concerned about teen cannabis use through vaping.
Teen Vaping Trends
Vaping caught on big among the teenage cohort. These slick devices were quickly seen as cool new toys. A wide range of fun flavors for the liquid nicotine only added to the allure of vaping. For decades teens have been open to trying cigarettes, nothing new there. But with the advent of vaping, teens found a heightened interest in recent years.
As a result of ads that target the teen market, teens took up vaping in a big way. Huge plumes of vapor would be seen any place that teens convened. At school, at ball games, at social events, in their cars teens were seen vaping.
But when lung damage, and even deaths, began cropping up in 2019, the trend shifted downward. Stores were pressured to stop selling the products to teens that were putting their health in danger. The message that vaping, especially THC products, could be harmful began to slow the vaping trend, at least a bit.
Teens Vaping Cannabis
Still, the MTF report from 2019 showed that about 21% of 12th graders had vaped marijuana in the past year. Although other drugs of abuse were on a downward trend, weed use, driven by vaping, remained steady. Teen past year of marijuana in 2019 was nearly 39% among 12th graders.
Today’s version of pot is far more potent than in prior decades. Add to that, cannabis now is being inhaled via yet one more method—vaping. This potent THC has been shown to cause serious mental health effects, like psychosis in teens, as it is. Now with EVALI, a lung injury caused by vaping, there is even more danger involved in pot use.
The CDC has linked vaping with more than 1600 cases of lung damage and 34 deaths. EVALI has been linked to toxic contents within the THC liquids used in vaping. Not only lung damage can occur, so can addiction. In fact, vaping is now being seen as a gateway drug.
What Can Parents Do?
Parents are rightly alarmed when finding their teen vaping marijuana, due to the risk to their lungs. Add the increased use of cannabis and they are even more concerned. State laws that have made weed legal, even though this pertains to adults over age 21, have left parents hamstrung. The message to the teen is that pot is safe and legal, so they are more apt to try it.
So what can parents do? Consider these actions:
- Begin teaching children the dangers of vaping at a young age
- Relay news reports about EVALI lung damage and deaths
- Be on the lookout for vaping products in the teen’s room
- Be a good role model to your kids and don’t smoke or vape
- Be aware of packages delivered, as vape products can be bought online
- Ask your teen if they have vaped, or have a doctor ask them
- Use CDC resources to teach teens about the dangers of vaping
- If the teen shows signs of a substance use disorder (SUD), talk to a doctor about finding a teen recovery program
If your teen is involved with vaping THC it is something you should watch closely. Signs of a substance problem may include:
- The teen hanging out with a new group of friends
- Secretive behavior
- Signs of being under the influence of THC
- Money missing
- Loss of interest in school, sports, and hobbies
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Finding THC liquid products in their room
When signs of a SUD are present, get in touch with a doctor for a teen program. These programs provide tailored treatment for teens involved in vaping marijuana.
BNI Treatment Centers for Teen Mental Health Needs
BNI Treatment Centers is a doctor-owned mental health center that is also run by doctors. Their multi-modal approach is designed just for teens, to meet them where they are. Teens that have had an adverse mental health result from vaping cannabis may need to work through the issues. Parents, if your teen has had negative effects from vaping marijuana, our team is here to help, including family therapy. For questions about the program, please contact us at (888) 522-1504.