Vaping and e-cigarettes have seen a marked rise in popularity over the last several years. While initially marketed as a smoking alternative or quitting aid, vaping has expanded to other niches and products. As teens and others flock to use the products, concerned parents have questions.
The Latest Craze
Unlike regular cigarettes, e-cigs come in a variety of flavors and aromas to choose from that stand in stark contrast to the ashy and unpleasant smoke of a cigarette. As e-cigs have risen in popularity, however, their use among teens, both smokers and nonsmokers, has skyrocketed. As the effects and potential dangers are not well known, this has left parents in the lurch. Additionally, there are questions about marketing and whether teens and nonsmokers are being specifically targeted.
Nicotine, CBD and THC
“Vaping” is somewhat of a catch-all term, but not all vaping products or liquids are the same. Vaping liquids are made from nicotine, CBD or THC. Nicotine is the same substance found in cigarettes and comes from the tobacco plant. While generally considered better than traditional cigarettes, nicotine is an addictive and harmful chemical. Nicotine vaping is not a healthy activity for a nonsmoker. CBD is an oil produced by the hemp plant, and it does not contain nicotine. Vaping is an alternative to direct CBD oil consumption and is used for a variety of reasons. THC is derived from marijuana and represents an alternative to marijuana smoking and edibles. CBD does not produce the "high" associated with marijuana unless it also includes THC.
The Market is Booming
There are a number of CBD vape juices marketed towards people suffering from anxiety, pain, etc., that can seem appealing. The appeal comes from the fruity flavors and lack of side effects that come with consuming nicotine, marijuana or some prescription medications. Additionally, hemp-based CBD is not illegal on a federal level, unlike marijuana, and will generally not show up on drug tests. Some states have heavier regulations and may require doctor approval or prescription to use CBD products.
Use Among Teens
Vaping e-cigs and pens are easy to disguise and hide, and the vapor it produces can be flavored or odorless. This makes the behavior much more difficult to identify than traditional cigarettes or marijuana smoking and easier for teens to engage in at many places, such as schools. It is also a contention that companies are marketing their products specifically to a younger crowd, especially teens. While CBD may be a relatively benign use of vaping, the problem is that many teens are using nicotine- or THC-based liquids, which can be harmful.
The huge growth rate of potentially harmful e-cig use among teens has drawn the attention of the federal government. One issue that has specifically become a point of contention between e-cig and liquid makers, such as Juul; parents; and the government is whether young people are intended targets. In response, companies have launched new advertising to try and discourage teen vape use. It is likely that without a significant change in the number of teens who vape, federal regulators may impose strong restrictions and laws in the future.
Ultimately, the safety questions regarding vaping and e-cigs can be difficult to answer. While CBD vaping does have legitimate health uses, nicotine and marijuana vaping and the difficulty in discerning the difference can cause problems. Parents with medical questions can consult medical professionals for CBD vape alternatives while using online resources to discuss the problems presented by nicotine and marijuana use with their younger children. This may help reduce the use of potentially harmful products among teens.
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