Posted on March 5, 2018 by Enrique Mata
A key part of growing up is sharing experiences with trusted adults. The memories of these experiences, good or bad, can have a lifelong impact on youth.
This is especially true when it comes to the use of tobacco products. Research has shown that youth are less likely to use tobacco products when their parents disapprove of tobacco use; their relationships with parents include a balance of expressing care, providing support, and challenging growth; they do well in school and are involved in out of school activities; their friends are substance free; and they have self-control and strengths to resist peer pressure.
There are many factors beyond family and friends that influence kids’ choices to use tobacco products; social and policy issues such as how laws are enforced and community norms, pricing, and advertising to name a few. Paso del Norte Health Foundation is working with a wide range of community leaders and partners to continue the fight against harmful behaviors such as tobacco use. Years of comprehensive tobacco control prevention efforts led to a decline in smoking rates. Cigarette marketing has been banned for decades, and many communities like El Paso are protected by Clean Air ordinances.
Unfortunately, big tobacco efforts to diversify its product lines have led to the latest youth threat, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). There are now many terms that describe these products including; vapes, vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs), and e-pipes. These products are being promoted in a variety of ways that spark youth interest, including social media. Even though, the United States Food and Drug Administration regulations now prohibit minors under the age of 18 from buying ENDS products in stores or online, informed parents and families still play a vital role in preventing tobacco use among youth.
A recent congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine took a comprehensive look at evidence on the human health effects of e-cigarettes. Although the research is limited, the study identified and examined over 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies, reaching dozens of conclusions about a range of health impacts. Here are some of the findings:
- Substantial evidence that e-cigarette use increases risk of ever using combustible tobacco cigarettes among youth and young adults.
- Exposure to nicotine from e-cigarettes is highly variable and depends on product characteristics (including device and e-liquid characteristics) and how the device is operated.
- In addition to nicotine, most e-cigarette products contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substances.
- Intentional or accidental exposure to e-liquids (from drinking, eye contact, or dermal contact) can result in adverse health effects including but not limited to seizures, anoxic brain injury, vomiting, and lactic acidosis.
In addition to supporting good policies and regulations, it cannot be emphasized enough how important it is for parents and adult mentors to help keep youth safe and involved in healthful activities. Let’s work together to be informed role models for our youth, showing them that smoking and use of other tobacco products leads to poor health.
If you are interested in quitting smoking or other tobacco use, contact the Quitline, (915) 534-QUIT, for counseling and recommended FDA approved nicotine replacement products or visit www.quitnow.net/texas.
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