Youth tobacco rates are at a 20-year high in the United States due to the growing youth e-cigarette epidemic. In our region, statistics indicate that somewhere between 30-40% of youth report vaping within the last 30 days. Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes but experts agree, all forms of nicotine are unsafe for youth.
The CDC cites the following concerns about teen vaping:
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.
- A recent CDC study found that 99% of the e-cigarettes sold in the United States contained nicotine, even products labeled 0% nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.
- As the human brain keeps developing until age 25, nicotine can harm the adolescent brain. Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.
- Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs.
As vaping is designed to be done discreetly, it is important for caregivers to reach out to their children about vaping – start a conversation and keep an open dialogue. Educate yourself on the risks of vaping. Recently, the Health and Human Services Department hosted a presentation, Teen Vaping Today: The New Look of Nicotine, THC & CBD by Neuroscientist Dr. Marisa Silveri. This presentation was informative and contains comprehensive information on youth brain development and the long-term impact of substances on the developing brain. Please consider viewing it to learn more about this crucial and relevant topic.
If you are looking for resources on quitting for yourself or a youth in your life, see My Life My Quit
For more information, visit the Town of Bedford Board of Health webpage.