Are you familiar with the rise in vaping in teenagers? School principals and teachers have had their hands full since the start of the vaping pandemic, striving to prevent students from using e-cigarettes and vape devices.
Since warnings and detentions didn’t seem to do the trick in most schools, principals have turned to other measures like removing washroom doors and installing vape detectors in bathrooms. Vape sensors have proven a successful detection method, which is why an increasing number of schools have decided to invest in such devices. There are numerous companies like zeptive.com, specializing in the development of detection solutions.
This is everything you need to know about the risks of vaping for adolescents and the ways schools fight this pandemic.
Obstructed brain development
In the course of adolescence, the teenage brain is still subjected to growth and development. The changing process starts in the cerebellum, referring to the back of this organ, whereas the prefrontal cortex is the last to change. The front part of the brain is in charge of decision-making, problem-solving, planning, and control of impulses.
While the prefrontal cortex is under development, the brain of adolescents uses another part of the organ, known as the amygdala for the purpose of making decisions. Nevertheless, the amygdala has nothing to do with rationality, as this area controls impulses, emotions, aggressiveness, and instincts.
Therefore, it’s common for teenagers to exhibit different types of behavior; sometimes mature, while at times illogical. The mature decisions and thinking stem from using the not fully developed prefrontal cortex, while the amygdala is to blame for the impulsive decisions. Consequently, adolescents are more likely to take health risks in the form of vaping.
Moreover, nicotine is believed to have a harmful effect on the brain of teenagers, as it affects the parts responsible for learning, mood, and attention. As a result, teenagers smoking e-cigarettes are thought to have a shorter attention span and become less interested in learning. Nicotine has the power to affect the formation of synapses, referring to brain cell connection, thus harming the centers in charge of learning and attention. Click here to learn about the role, types, and parts of synapses in the nervous system.
Furthermore, vaping is considered to increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases, as a long-term effect of brain exposure to nicotine. Other long-lasting effects of vaping include experiencing mood disorders, low impulse control, and addiction to nicotine.
Oral health issues
Teenagers fond of vaping are at risk of experiencing oral health issues in the form of cavities and gum disease. E-cigarette aerosol has a negative effect on the healthy tissues inside the mouth while increasing the likelihood of cavities. The amount of nicotine used in e-cigarettes is known to cause harm to the oral cells in teenagers who vape.
In addition, vaping is often considered responsible for gum inflammation, as it irritates not only the throat but also the mouth and gums of vapers. As a result, teenagers who vape are more susceptible to the development of gum disease. The same goes for the formation of cavities since the aerosol increases the risk of bacteria development on the tooth enamel.
Another risk for teenagers smoking e-cigarettes is having higher chance of getting addicted to other drugs. Even after adolescence, the brain doesn’t seem to stop growing and developing, not until the age of twenty-five. Whenever teenagers learn a new skill or create new memories, brain synapses become stronger.
Additionally, the brains of teenagers are capable of building synapses much quicker when compared to adults. Consequently, a person is able to learn new information and skills faster when young. Since addiction is believed to be a type of learning, teenagers are at greater risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, as well as to other drugs. Nowadays, nicotine is found in all e-cigarettes, even in those claiming they contain none.
Risk of using tobacco products
The use of e-cigarettes is closely related to the use of tobacco products such as chewing tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes. Even though vaping is believed to discourage teenagers from smoking traditional cigarettes, others believe e-cigarettes stimulate young people to give them a try. Nowadays, the trend among teenagers is to use both conventional and electronic cigarettes. Over time, vaping might lead to alcohol and marihuana use.
Vaping poses a great risk to the heart health of adolescents due to the presence of aerosols in the e-liquid. When smoking e-cigarettes containing nicotine, teenagers are likely to experience increased adrenaline levels and higher blood pressure, resulting in an increase in heart rate. These symptoms can be detrimental to cardiovascular health in the long term.
Moreover, vaping boosts the risk of having a stroke and heart attack, as well as developing heart disease and angina. Although vaping is less harmful to cardiovascular health in comparison with smoking tobacco, the risk of blood circulation problems is still incredibly high. Any kind of poor circulation issues such as peripheral artery disease (PAD), varicose veins, diabetes, and blood clots makes individuals more susceptible to a heart attack over time.
Lung issues caused by aerosol
Vaping isn’t only damaging to the heart health of adolescents but to their lungs as well. In spite of what e-cigarette producers claim, the aerosol is far from harmless. It contains nicotine, benzene, lead, nickel, tin, and other chemicals like diacetyl. All these particles are inhaled into the lungs, hence making vapers more prone to lung disease.
In addition, the content of electronic cigarettes reduces the resistance of teenagers to influenza, pneumonia, acute bronchitis, asthma, and other breathing issues. The negative effects of aerosol not only affect vapers but also the people in their surroundings.
Secondhand exposure to aerosol shouldn’t be neglected, as most high school students vape in the company of their friends. This makes both vapers and non-vapers vulnerable to the negative effects of these substances. Visit this link to learn more about the aerosol.
How do schools cope with students’ vaping?
The majority of middle and high school students think of vaping as one of the coolest trends in recent years, hence spending their time vaping in school bathrooms. The rise in vaping has forced schools to take appropriate measures to discourage such behavior in teenagers, which has proven to be incredibly challenging for principals.
Most school principals have decided to increase supervision in bathrooms in an attempt to catch students breaking the rules at hourly intervals. Nevertheless, the inventiveness of teenagers when it comes to sneaking has proven greater than supervision. Hence, the number of suspended students hasn’t been as high as expected.
Furthermore, middle and high school principals had no other alternative but to come up with more effective approaches to banning vaping on campus. For instance, the doors of washrooms have been removed in most schools to prevent teenagers from smoking in the bathrooms, despite the revolt of students for having their privacy invaded.
Nevertheless, catching teenagers vaping is a demanding task for supervisors, as vapor disappears rather quickly and smells nothing like conventional cigarettes. Therefore, schools have turned to another more effective alternative of installing vape detectors. Vape sensors are almost identical to smoke detectors; only the former is capable of detecting smoke coming from vape devices. The implementation of such devices on campuses is expected to provide success in the fight against the vaping epidemic.
Education campaigns are also beneficial in making teenagers more aware of the negative effects this habit has on their physical and mental health. Believe it or not, the largest part of adolescents have no idea nicotine is included in the content of e-cigarettes, hence thinking of vaping as a safe alternative to smoking tobacco.
Such campaigns are necessary for students to gain insight into the way nicotine affects their brain development and overall health. It’s paramount for teenagers to get familiar with the dangers and addictive nature of nicotine from as early age as possible. Encouraging other students to share their negative experiences with vaping should be also done if possible.
Some countries have done more than promote education campaigns against this nasty habit. They’ve included the risks of vaping in the curriculum of elementary schools in order for students to discuss this topic with teachers in class.
Every school is supposed to take the dangers of vaping seriously to protect the health of students!