The term “vape” refers to electronic devices that simulate tobacco smoking. They consist of an atomizer, a power source like a battery and a container for e-liquid (e-juice) that usually contains nicotine, along with flavourings and other chemicals. When a user inhales e-liquid from a vape, it creates an aerosol that looks like water vapor. Vaping is also referred to as using an electronic cigarette, vape pen or e-cig.
E-cigarettes are sold in a variety of sizes and shapes, from those that look like cigarettes to USB flash drives. They contain the same chemicals as traditional cigarettes – including nicotine, which is addictive. They can be used by anyone, including children and teenagers. The chemicals in e-cigarettes can cause damage to the lungs. They can also cause other health problems, such as anxiety and depression, and may contribute to addiction to tobacco or other drugs.
A recent study found that e-cigarettes increase the likelihood of children and adolescents starting regular tobacco or nicotine use. This is partly due to the popularity of flavoured e-liquids, which come in kid-friendly or appealing flavours. It’s also because e-cigarettes are easy to hide, and can be used in indoor spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms or classrooms.
It is estimated that about 2 million UK children aged 11 to 15 are now regular users of vapes. This is about 10% of the youth population. It is a worrying development because it’s too soon to know the long-term health effects of using these devices. The government is taking steps to protect children from vaping by restricting sales to over-18s only, limiting nicotine content, refill bottle and tank sizes, labelling requirements, and through advertising restrictions.
Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds of inhaling from vapes and can change how your body works, causing addiction to nicotine and other drugs. It can also affect your memory and how well you learn. It can also change the way your lungs work and increase your chance of having lung problems later in life, such as scarring or narrowing of the tubes that bring air in and out of your lungs.
It can be hard to quit vaping, but it is possible. You can ask for help from friends, family or a professional vaping support service. You can also try to reduce how much you vape by reducing the amount you smoke and replacing it with sugar-free gum or drinks. It’s important to get lots of rest, and spend time with supportive people. You can also try activities that will keep your hands busy, such as making jewellery or going for a walk.
There are also resources on the Quit Smoking website, including a video with tips from teens who have stopped smoking or vaping. You can also pick a day to stop and stick it on your calendar. Tell your family and friends that you’re doing this, and get rid of all your vaping supplies. You’ll need to be ready for the withdrawal symptoms, but they get better over days and weeks. vape