Some parents at home with their adolescent or teen during quarantine are beginning to realize something is going on with their child besides anxiety about the pandemic and social distancing. A clue may lie in the vaping epidemic that has snared millions of youth with an e-cigarette or nicotine vaping addiction.
Vaping is a teen drug abuse issue that is more serious than what you might think…
As a parent maybe you felt vaping was not a battle worth fighting because it’s just flavored water vapor right? Nothing could be further from the truth. Most all e-cigarettes contain nicotine delivered as a ‘chemical cocktail’ in aerosol form that is inhaled. These devices have been known to expose young lungs to heavy metals and flavorings that turn toxic in the super –heated aerosol cloud.
In 2015 Juul started the youth vaping craze with a sleek usb look-alike device that went unnoticed by parents. Juul paired the device with flavored pods.
- Pods pack the ‘juice’ that becomes a heated chemical-cocktail aerosol that is inhaled.
- Flavors like mango, cool cucumber, crème and fruit proved to be irresistible to youth.
- Flavored pods are now restricted
- Copycat vape pods are filling the void restrictions cause
- Copycat vape pods found to contain poisonous substances and heavy metals
While Juul enticed our youth with ads on Cartoon Network, they were packing as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes into each pod.
Juul upped their game considerably using advanced technology to propel nicotine across the blood brain barrier in seconds – a faster delivery to the brain’s reward system.
Keep in mind that nicotine addiction:
- Can occur in a matter of days after first use.
- Nicotine receptors in the brain increase rapidly after the second dose of nicotine (Center for Advancement of Health.)
Signs of nicotine addiction:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Depressed mood
- Increased hunger
- Isolation from friends/family
- Strong cravings for nicotine to feel ‘normal’
- Attempts to obtain nicotine undetected
Your compassion and involvement are required!
If your child is addicted to nicotine understand that addiction is powerful. Treatment specialists equate the difficulty in overcoming nicotine addiction to that of stopping a cocaine or heroin addiction. The comparison stands to reason considering how many adults want to stop smoking and have not been successful.
Compassion and understanding will go a long way to helping a child addicted to nicotine. Make this a team effort by visiting the teen.smokefree.gov website for cessation tools and guidance. Involve your family physician. Be ready to devote time to help your child through the process. Work with your school to make certain that youth have access to resources that address youth addiction to nicotine.
If a child’s behavior issues do not have a connection to substance abuse or addiction, it is important to consider mental health issues. Since substance abuse has proven to be one of the ways youth cope with mental health issues, the situation could be what is termed a co-occurring disorder requiring substance abuse and mental health treatment. View online youth mental health resources.
How to keep kids off drugs? It’s a family thing…
Communities that have replicated the Reality Tour Parent/Child Drug Prevention Program are a resource for your family to experience a powerful prevention message. This program was created to fill a critical gap in prevention. There is a need to educate parents with their adolescent/ teen children BEFORE there is a problem to keep kids from trying drugs.
Visit the locations at www.RealityTour.org tab to see if there is a Reality Tour near you. If you want to learn how to get Reality Tour started in your community and you know 12 people who care about prevention – contact us because you have the first step covered! Finally, register for our newsletter to stay informed.