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To check addiction, experts urge clinicians to screen teens for vaping

06-08 | By CSAA Team

To check addiction, experts urge clinicians to screen teens for vaping

The use of e-cigarettes is growing rapidly among teens, reinforcing the fact that vaping puts youths at a greater risk of nicotine addiction and of a potential damage to the mental and physical health.

According to the 2015 National Youth Tobacco Survey (YTS) by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.3 percent middle school and 16 percent high school students reported using an e-cigarette in a month prior to the survey. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC, around 3 million middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2015.

In a review, titled “Teen Use of Electronic Cigarettes,” published in the Journal of Addictions Nursing in 2016, Nancy Campbell-Heider, Ph.D., University at Buffalo, and an addictions and high-risk adolescent behavior expert, said that during a medical check-up, physicians usually tend to overlook the inquiries about vaping.

They generally ask questions pertaining to drug and alcohol use, safe sex practice and cigarette use but they don’t ask anything about the use of e-cigarettes. However, she is of the view that healthcare professionals should also screen young people for vaping to avoid addiction to e-cigarettes as well as other tobacco products.

High school students using e-cigarettes are 27 times more prone to cannabis use

Vaping involves inhaling nicotine that is addictive. It may increase the risk of abusing other drugs and to develop a tendency to smoking cigarettes. Campbell-Heider said, ““Teens are ignorant of the risk of using e-cigarettes so it has become their new drug of choice.”

Though e-cigarettes do not contain the harmful chemicals as cigarettes, the devices are not devoid of nicotine and harmful diluents that can have an adverse effect on a teen’s health. As a result, it is not a safe alternative to smoking and clinicians should screen vaping among teens, who are either ignorant or misinformed about the effects of e-cigarettes.

According to the study cited in her review, the diluents and byproducts can increase breathing problems by 30 percent among e-cigarette users, compared to non-users. Another related study revealed that high school students smoking e-cigarettes are 27 times more prone to use cannabis, as compared to non-smokers.

FDA announces regulation for vaping

Due to the dramatic rise of e-cigarette use among the American youth, the FDA in May 2016 announced new regulations for e-cigarettes to curb the long-standing concerns related to vaping. The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said, “We have more to do to help protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine, especially our youth. As cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap. All of this is creating a new generation of Americans who are at risk of addiction.”

The new regulations by the FDA, to be effective in 90 days, are:

  • It does not allow products to be sold to persons under the age of 18 years (both in person and online)
  • It requires age verification by photo ID
  • It does not allow the selling of covered tobacco products in vending machines (unless in an adult-only facility)
  • It does not allow the distribution of free samples

According to the regulations, the manufacturers will have to get their tobacco products reviewed by the FDA before they enter the market.

Clinicians can ensure early screening of vaping among teens

With the new FDA regulations, there is hope that the increase in the use of e-cigarettes will not turn into an epidemic like opioids in the U.S. However, as Campbell-Heider showed in her review of several studies that clinicians can play an important role in determining the use of e-cigarettes among teens during their clinical sessions.

Prominent substance abuse treatment centers in Colorado are equipped to provide holistic recovery options to treat e-cigarette addiction. If you or your loved one is addicted to vaping, please seek help from the inpatient substance abuse treatment centers in Colorado. The Colorado Substance Abuse Advisors are here to help you find the best substance abuse treatment programs in Colorado. For more information, please chat with our treatment specialists or call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866- 300-5857.


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