What you should know about vaping

What you should know about vaping

They come in all shapes and sizes and with many different names, but one thing e-cigarettes have in common is that they, and the vaping that go with them, are not safe for anyone of any age.

The term e-cigarette is technically a catch-all that includes any battery-operated model that heats its liquid contents. However, often people use e-cigarette to refer to a battery-powered tobacco product that's made to look like traditional cigarettes (hence the nickname cig-alikes). They can be disposable or rechargeable. Cig-alikes were the first electronic cigarette model, are typically simple in design (no buttons) and sometimes contain cartridges the user refills.

A vape, or vaporizer, comes in various models (pen, mod, pod). In general they are more complex than cig-alikes because they have buttons, flavor options and stronger output. When you hear Juul, you can think of it in this category. Vaping can refer to using e-cigs or vapes and simply describes the method by which the substance enters the lungs.

While it's unfortunately possible for youth to purchase vaping devices, many teens borrow from friends who are either old enough to buy tobacco products or who acquired them some other way. Because many of the more modern versions such as Juul are small and sleek (like a USB or iPod), it is easier for youth to conceal them.

Despite ads claiming vaping is the safe alternative to smoking, a vape can contain as much nicotine as one to two packs of traditional cigarettes. It also is possible to vape other substances such as cannabis and alcohol. The liquid inside isn't actually converted to vapor; it becomes aerosol. Vaping can be highly addictive and increases a person's risk of substance-use disorder and other health problems, especially if the user is under 21.

Of the 2,400 youth surveyed anonymously in Wayne County, 82% have never used an electronic vapor product. Just because it seems like everyone’s doing it doesn’t mean they are.

Kristie Skaggs is a coalition prevention specialist and CIRCLE Coalition member.

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