E-cigarettes, vaping and teens: Do parents know the dangers?

By | February 22, 2020

– Hi, I’m Dr. Anthea Rhodes. Paediatrician at the
Royal Children’s Hospital. Have you heard of e-cigarettes or vaping? According to the latest
RCH Poll, most parents have and most parents are
concerned about e-cigarettes. Many are confused about the health risks, so let’s clear up some of that confusion. Firstly, people are right to be concerned. More and more people are taking up vaping, especially teenagers, and the health harms are real. Worldwide, more than 50 people
have died as a result of lung injury from e-cigarette use and thousands more have become very sick, and here’s why. E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce a vapour. They come in many shapes and sizes. Some look like traditional
cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Others look like USB flash drives or pens. Some are even disguised in clothing or made to look like medical devices. E-cigarettes are known by
many different names including e-hookahs, vapes, mods, and juuls. Using an e-cigarette is
commonly called vaping. So, what makes e-cigarettes harmful? Well, it’s all about the
ingredients in e-cigarette liquid also known as vape juice. Unlike traditional cigarettes, there’s no tobacco or tar. Instead they contain a range
of other chemical ingredients like propylene glycol,
vegetable glycerin, nicotine, and various other flavourings. While many of these products may be safe to rub on your skin or even eat, they have not been proven safe to inhale. In Australia, there is no regulation of the production or manufacturing
of e-cigarette liquids. This means it could be
made anywhere by anyone, and contain anything. Even if it was regulated, the
chemicals from e-cigarettes don’t belong inside your lungs. That’s where the chemicals
are absorbed and left behind just like traditional smoking. These chemicals cause
inflammation and damage to the airway and lungs,
and make people sick. Sometimes very sick. Tragically, it’s even lead to deaths. Doctors are concerned that
many vaping illnesses have been caused by e-cigarette
liquid laced with THC, the psychoactive ingredient
in the drug cannabis. And like traditional cigarettes, there’s the danger of second-hand vapour affecting people nearby. What about nicotine? Nicotine is the addictive
ingredient found both in traditional cigarettes
and e-cigarettes. In Australia, nicotine
is classed as a poison. It’s so toxic that children
have died after accidentally drinking small amounts
of e-cigarette liquid. In Australia, the law says
that a prescription is required to obtain e-cigarette
liquid with nicotine in it. In fact, testing has shown that many pods of e-cigarette liquid do
in fact contain nicotine even when the label says they don’t. A single pod of e-cigarette
liquid can contain as much nicotine as a whole
pack of traditional cigarettes. Nicotine is highly addictive, especially for young people and it affects the developing brain. Using e-cigarettes can provide a stepping stone to nicotine addiction and it may lead some young people to take up smoking traditional cigarettes. Remember, just because
e-cigarette products can be bought legally by an adult in a shop or online in Australia, doesn’t mean they’ve been safety tested or that they’re nicotine free. Australian parents are
worried about e-cigarettes and they’re right to be. It took around 40 years of people smoking traditional cigarettes before scientists could prove they were deadly. And with e-cigarettes, the
evidence is already mounting. So, what can you do? Make sure your kids know the facts when it comes to e-cigarettes and vaping. We know parents are great
at talking with their kids about traditional cigarettes and smoking, alcohol, and other drug use, but most parents haven’t
talked with their children about e-cigarettes or vaping. For tips on how to have the
conversation with your teen, please follow the links
to our fact sheets. And if you’re worried about your child, it’s a good idea to
see your family doctor. Please share this video widely to help us clear the confusion on e-cigarettes, and thanks for watching.

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