By Isiah REYES
The dangers of vaping, hookah, and e-cigarettes were presented by Glendale Police Officer Joe Allen to the parents attending the CV Alliance meeting on Tuesday.
Allen said teens can easily buy e-cigarettes, citing that they have access to their parents’ credit cards and can purchase them online. A recent report published in JAMA Pediatrics showed that only five out of 98 attempts of teens buying e-cigs online were rejected because of age.
One difference between e-cigs and regular cigarettes is that e-cigs do not produce any smoke. This is because they use a battery to heat liquid nicotine into a vapor. Allen said e-cigs are fine for smokers who want to move away from normal cigarettes and quit the tobacco habit, but the problem is when the e-cigs start addicting the next generation to nicotine. The companies that produce e-cigs appeal to teens by making flavors like strawberry and grape with the hopes of getting them hooked early on.
The California Dept. of Public Health recently reported that e-cigs emit cancer-causing chemicals but acknowledged that more research needs to be done to determine the immediate and long-term effects. It may take awhile for studies to show long-term effects as e-cigs have only been available in the U.S. since 2007. In addition, e-cigs are not regulated by the FDA. This means that ingredient labeling can sometimes be misleading.
Allen then talked about vaporizers and hookahs. A vaporizer is an inhalation device used to vaporize the active ingredients of plant material, commonly cannabis, tobacco, or other herbs.
“The vaporizer is going to have a lot more liquid, and a lot more moisture, as it gets heated up,” said Allen. “Teens are having a little competition. You can search all over YouTube. They puff out a ton of smoke rings and they go through it and kids are bragging about what they can do online.”
A hookah on the other hand is an instrument for vaporizing and smoking flavored tobacco in which the vapor or smoke is passed through a water basin before inhalation.
“The problem with hookah is that it still carries nicotine as it is a tobacco-based substance and second, because it’s flavorful, people will sit around and smoke for an hour,” Allen said. “So they say it will transfer less nicotine but the mere act of doing it as a socialized activity where you sit around and smoke it continuously with exposure over the long term actually makes it worse.”
Allen said the most important thing parents can do to keep their kids drug free is to teach about awareness. Allen said a parent can take away a cellphone and all the computer access in the house to limit their child’s involvement in social media but they can still get a friend’s phone and log on through there.
“It’s about teaching kids to make proper decisions,” Allen said. “Because if I can’t stop my kid from doing it, I have to at least let them know the dangers of doing it and hope they don’t do it.”
To see the full schedule of upcoming CV Alliance events, visit http://cv-alliance.org/.