The dramatic rise in vaping among teens is alarming to pediatricians and parents alike. It’s common for teens’ first exposure to vaping to come as an effect of peer pressure, says Dr. Katherine Williamson, a CHOC Children’s pediatrician.
“The rate at which vaping has increased over the last several years see is really scary for me to see as a pediatrician,” Williamson says.
CHOC Children’s teen advisers, a group of teens active in their community, committed to academic success, and who support CHOC’s mission, offer their advice for teens struggling to deal with peer pressure to vape.
- It’s just not worth it – “My freshman year of high school, I was offered the opportunity vape more than 10 times. In these situations, it’s your choice how to respond. Vaping is simply not worth it. Do not be guilted or tempted by those around you.” – Andei, age 16
- Consider the long-term consequences – “You may not feel it at first, but as you vape, your lungs are being damaged. You could end up in the hospital as a result of vaping. Turn down the offer to vape and walk away from the situation.” – Sam, age 12
- Offer a valid excuse – “My parents always told me that to get out of a peer pressure situation, I could tell a white lie and blame it on them. I could say something like, “My parents are super strict and will drug test me, so I can’t. Or, I remove myself from situations by saying I have to get to volleyball practice or have another commitment.” – Noah, age 17
- Complications of addiction – “Teens endure tremendous social pressure, which makes it easier for teens to fall victim to vaping. Avoiding peer pressure to vape might not be an easy task, but it’s far easier than having to withdraw from addiction.” – Christian, age 17
- Health consequences —
- “Always think about the serious health consequences of vaping. It’s very addictive, causes breathing difficulties and increases your risk of cancer or even death.” – Lauren, age 15
- “Although it is marketed as a safer alternative to cigarettes, they contain addictive chemicals. It’s a newer trend, and some teens may not be as educated on the dangers of vaping.” – Layla, age 14
- “Vaping can change your life in an unhealthy way. Not only can you damage your lungs, but it can impact your life in others way, too. You could be punished by your school and parents, as well.” — Carina, age 15
- “Although the side effects may
- Re-evaluate your friend group – “Walk away from the situation and stop hanging out with friends who are pressuring you. That means they don’t care about you. Find new friends who do.” –Trevor, age 15
- Social/school consequences – “Schools take vaping seriously. They can take away your ability to participate in activities, sports or dances.” – Jorian, age 15
Harmful effects of vaping
As more teens develop an addiction to vaping nicotine or CBD oil, Williamson has treated more and more teens with lung problems, agitation and anxiety.
Vaping hasn’t been around long enough for us to know its long-term effects on the body. But health experts are reporting serious lung damage in people who vape, including some deaths.
- Irritate the lungs
- May cause serious lung damage and even death
- Can lead to smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco use
Some people use e-cigarettes to vape marijuana, THC oil and other dangerous chemicals. Besides irritating the lungs, these drugs also affect how someone thinks, acts and feels.
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