In recent years we’ve seen a sharp decline in the number of young adults who smoke, owing to health officials driving home how dangerous smoking is. However, recent surveys show that while smoking may be on the decline, it has got replaced by something else – vaping. E-cigarettes originally came about to help people quit smoking because it allows them to control the amount of nicotine they take. Thus, users could gradually wean themselves off the drug and not have to suffer the side effects. However, vaping in itself has become the latest infatuation, especially amongst teens. Surveys show that 1 in 5 high-schoolers has vaped. While vaping may be safer than smoking cigarettes, it’s still important for parents to regulate this behavior and keep an eye on their teens. If you want to watch out for your child, here are a few signs that can indicate that your child is vaping.
While cigarette smoke is easy to distinguish, vape smoke is entirely different. Instead of having a sharp, off-putting smell, vape smoke comes in various scents, owing to the wide variety of flavors. Vape juice does come in odorless or unflavored versions. Still, most users choose to pick from amongst the incredibly enticing flavors on the market.
If your teen is vaping, you can quickly notice a sweet scent surrounding them or coming from their room. Vaping juice flavors can include berry notes, fruit flavors, cola, mint, and even flavors like banoffee pie. So if you smell a strange, new gourmand smell around the house and can’t identify the source, you might have vape juice to blame.
Strange looking items
E-cigarettes often come disguised as commonplace items. Furthermore, these designs are rapidly changing, so you might need to look out for several things. Traditionally, e-cigarettes would come in designs mimicking the look of cigarettes and cigars to help users feel like they’re smoking without consuming nicotine. Now, however, you can find vapes in all sorts of shapes.
Most commonly, vaping devices look like USBs or pens. If you find strange new USBs or pens around the house, you may have a vaping device on your hands with two holes on either end. However, vapes come in various other designs too. You can find multiple vaping dictionaries that help you identify multiple vaping devices and understand how they work. Depending on the model, the vape may or may not come with a pre-filled nicotine cartridge.
Apart from finding strange smells and objects around the house, if your teen is vaping, you may begin to see changes in behavior too. The human brain doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25, and vaping can profoundly affect a young teen’s brain. Regular vaping can diminish the ability of the prefrontal cortex to regulate emotions, decision-making, and impulse control. If your teen starts vaping at a young age, they may have reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex.
If this is the case, you might notice your teen starting to have mood swings, irritability, agitation, anxiety, and inability to concentrate. Furthermore, your teen might exhibit increasingly reckless behavior, even when they aren’t using the vape. These changes can significantly impact your teen in school and in their interpersonal relationships too. You might notice their school performance starting to drop, and they may face increased issues in extracurriculars too. If you see any of these changes, it may be time to take strict action.
Random health issues
One of the most significant indicators that your teen is vaping is that they may begin to experience unexpected health issues. These may not seem that serious alone, but they might be indicative of a bigger problem. For example, if your teen has chest pain, smoker’s cough, and shortness of breath without any identifiable cause, they may be vaping. Propylene glycol, the main ingredient in vapes, comes with a host of health drawbacks, the most dangerous of which is that it may cause lung inflammation. Furthermore, it can cause your teen to have mouth sores that don’t heal. They may also suffer from random nosebleeds, owing to the vape smoke drying out their nostrils.
Propylene glycol can also cause vape users to experience increased thirst, and they might have a diminished sense of taste. Vaping chemicals can be incredibly disruptive to the immune system, especially for younger teens. If you notice your teen having any of these unexpected issues, it may require deeper investigation on your part.
One of the most common side effects of nicotine is that it causes diminished appetite. If your teen is vaping, they may have reduced need, leading to unexplained weight loss. Furthermore, they may also experience nausea and vomiting, which can lead to increased weight loss. It can take the body some time to get used to nicotine, and until it does, you might notice your teen’s health declining.
It can be challenging to decide upon a course of action if you find out your teen is vaping. Some parents can be curious to take strict measures and ground their children. While some strictness is essential, it’s equally important to make your teen understand why vaping isn’t good for them and how it comes with a host of health drawbacks. With persistent effort, you can help your teen overcome the addiction. Furthermore, recognizing these warning signals earlier might assist you in planning a prompt intervention before it is too late.