PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — If you’re under the age of 18, the mad men of big tobacco want you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among teenagers.
Tar and nicotine slowly killed the Marlboro Man, but doctors say these high-tech-looking devices deliver a faster path to addiction and disease.
“They [e-cigarettes] give a very high dose of nicotine, therefore, they are very addictive and we are talking about young people who are using a high dose of nicotine in a developing brain and it’s extremely addictive. It also potentially interferes with memory and attention and it’s harmful to the lungs,” said Dr. Sadreameli, who is a pediatric pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She’s also a volunteer educator for the America Lung Association.
Since vaping is often disguised with a fruity aroma, if there’s ‘smokin’ in the boy’s room‘, it could go unnoticed.
“It’s happening at school, it’s happening outside of school, peer-to-peer sharing and things like that,” said Dr. Sadreameli.
Teens who use tobacco don’t have to walk a mile for a Camel. According to the CDC, last year, 80 percent of high school students and 75 percent of middle schoolers had used tobacco in the past 30 days.
That’s why the American Lung Association has set aside today as a special day to talk to your children about vaping. The campaign includes a social media hashtag: #DoTheVapeTalk and a TikTok-style dance challenge that could help parents jump-start the dialogue.
“It’s a father and his daughter doing some TikTok dances but the point of it is parents want to connect with their kids and they don’t always know how. Start that conversation with your kids and start it early and have it often is what we say,” added Dr. Sadreameli.
Now, if your kids refuse to dance with you on TikTok, you can head to www.talkaboutvaping.org for additional tips on how to address vaping.