Teen Smoking: E-Cig ‘Dripping’ Poses New Risk to Adolescent Health

According to the CDC, in just one year, between 2013 and 2014, teen smoking of e-cigarettes (otherwise known as vaping) tripled. To many, this isn’t a surprise. E-cigarette companies advertise with “fun” flavors–bubble gum, pineapple, cinnamon roll, etc.–which makes vaping much more appealing to young people. It’s also commonly thought that e-cigarettes are somehow safer to use than cigarettes, but that’s far from the truth.

teen smokingThe truth is that nicotine is a drug, whether it’s consumed through vapor or smoke, and because of that fact it’s not healthy for brain development. Recently, teens have taken it to a new level and it’s not just the risk of nicotine anymore when it comes to e-cigarettes–now there’s a tactic called “dripping” that’s particularly troubling.

What is ‘dripping’?

“Dripping” is an increasingly popular way of using e-cigarettes–about 1 in 4 teens who use them have used this method. Apparently, the tactic of teen smoking produces more flavor, smoke, and a stronger feeling in the throat.

For an e-cigarette to work, there has to be a heating coil within the contraption. Usually there’s a process that uses this coil to produce the vapor, but “dripping” skips the process and drips the liquid directly onto the coil. This wouldn’t be alarming if it didn’t contain some safety and health concerns.

The risks e-cigarettes pose to youth

Because this method creates higher temperatures on the coil than usual, higher emissions of chemicals are released. These chemicals are called volatile aldehydes, which include acrolein and formaldehyde–two chemicals known to increase the risk of developing cancer and breathing issues.

Aside from the obvious harmful chemicals being released into your teen’s body, there’s also the underlying fact that nicotine–which is still present in e-cigarettes–is extremely addictive. Addiction simply isn’t good for the developing brain and poses the risk of creating issues socially, academically, emotionally, and in the family.

E-cigarettes are often promoted as a “safer” way for teen smoking, but this needs to change. Regular cigarette use has plummeted among young people, but e-cigarettes are on the rise and need attention.

We need to continue to make it clear that vaping, while it uses vapor instead of smoke, is still not a safe option for teen smoking. It has the potential to cause disruptions in development–especially when used incorrectly, like using the “dripping” method.

Elevations helps with teen smoking

Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center for struggling teens, ages 13 to 18. Our students often grapple with anxiety, defiance, teen smoking, depression, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral issues. At Elevations, we use a combination of a focused therapeutic lens, real-world environment, secure setting, and caring staff to foster growth and success in our students.

For more information about how we deal with teen smoking at Elevations RTC, please call .

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