It’s time for another Two Peds in a Pod photo quiz.
The question: What’s depicted in this photo?
If you answered: a pen, a thumb nail drive, or an asthma inhaler, you would be wrong.
Kids use these devices, which purposely look like common innocuous objects, to inhale electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Vaping, also called “Juuling” and an even more concentrated form of vaping, called “dripping,” is unfortunately popular among teens. It’s unhealthy: the stuff that the kids are inhaling contains nicotine and other chemicals.
Ask your middle schooler or high schooler. They most likely have seen these devices if they have not actually used one.
Parents need to know kids are vaping in school as well as outside of school. Unlike conventional cigarettes, it’s easy for the kids to hide: no smoky smell, no cigarette cartons. The vaping liquid or “e-juice” comes in all kinds of “kid friendly” flavors such as gummy bear, fruit, or chocolate, and the devices needed to inhale them look like items in every kid’s pencil case or backpack.
It’s easy for kids to get the e-juice on the internet because online stores don’t always ask for proof of age (legal age to buy is 18 years in the US). Most e-juices contain nicotine, which is addictive. Emerging data show that kids who vape are more likely to go on to use regular cigarettes than kids who do not vape. So much on the industry’s claim to help decrease cigarette use by substituting vaping fluid.
Bottom line: vaping, or using electronic cigarettes, is unhealthy and addictive, and startlingly easy for kids to hide.
Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2018 Two Peds in a Pod®