Electronic cigarettes often referred to as e-cigarettes, VAPES and Juuls, are advertised as a lower-risk alternative for smokers.
In just the past year high school-aged students using electronic cigarettes increased 78%. In Loudoun County, vapes have been found on students in both middle and high school.
While the Food and Drug Administration has not systematically reviewed e-cigarettes, a consensus report conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine reviewed over 800 studies and made clear that e-cigarettes both contain and emit a number of potentially toxic substances, and the inhalation of harmful chemicals can cause irreversible lung damage and lung disease.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the same addictive drug in cigarettes. Some e-cigarettes may contain as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
In a video developed by the LCSO to advise parents and students alike on the dangers of using these devices, Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman says, "even more disconcerting is what else can be inhaled from these devices. Recently members of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office uncovered vapes containing THC, a butane hash oil. The concentration in the vape cartridges was 95 percent THC. That is well over 10 times more potent than a typical marijuana plant-material seized during my days as an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration."
For parents, what makes it difficult to know if your child is vaping is the devices themselves. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some even look like a tiny USB flash drive. But the evidence is clear that they are the most commonly used tobacco product among both middle and high school students.
Did you know? In July 2019, a new law took effect in Virginia prohibiting the purchase or possession of tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, and alternative nicotine products by a person under 21 years of age, or the sale of these products to persons under 21 years of age.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a tip sheet for parents on how to talk to their teen about vaping.
Keep the conversation going!