Do our middle and high schoolers really have a problem? According to Katrina Jensen, Registered Nurse with Intermountain Moms, the answer is, "YES!" There has been a 900% increase in e-cigarette use by high school students from 2011 to 2016. In 2016 the National Youth and Tobacco Survey was conducted and reported 1.7 million high school students and 500,000 middle school students had used e-cigarettes in the 30 days prior to the survey’s distribution.
Jensen says, no kid should be using tobacco products. As one of the most addictive substances out there, she gives parents and adults who interact with teenagers some advice on how to decrease this worrisome trend.
• Talk to your kids: One Juul cartridge (the most common e-cigarette) has approximately 200 puffs, containing the same amount of nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Juuls resemble a flash drive so they are tricky to spot.
• Clarify misconceptions: Kids think e-cigarettes are NOT dangerous. They think they are just water. Liquid once heated changes the water to an aerosol making it very dangerous full of toxins such as lead.
• Explain it is not safe: Due to the lack of regulations many kids think that what they are doing is not harmful.
• Educate yourself: The top 3 reasons for kids who have never used an e-cigarette start are:
- A friend or family member uses
- Flavors such as mint, candy, fruit or chocolate are easily available
- The belief that they are less harmful than other forms of tobacco such as cigarettes.
References: Federal Drug and Administration