LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - More teenagers are vaping, according to a University of Michigan study, while their use of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs like heroin and ecstasy are down.
The survey found more than 1 in 3 high school seniors vaped in 2017: ten times the amount of regular cigarette smoking.
“And we are seeing it in even younger children, you don’t have to be a teenager,” Dr. Bruce Thompson, a pediatrician at the Children’s Clinic in Lake Charles said. “We’ll see it in middle schools and junior high kids who are doing it as well. It’s certainly concerning.”
Dr. Thompson says although not much research has been conducted, vaping could have some serious side effects. JUUL, a popular e-cigarette, contains the same amount of nicotine as a pack of regular cigarettes.
“Nicotine in itself, whether it’s from smoking or vaping can affect your heart, affects on your cardiovascular system, it can be addicting, so there is some concern for those who start on vaping or JUULing or e-cigarettes that it leads to smoking regular cigarettes which is more harmful,” Dr. Thompson said.
According to Johns Hopkins while vaping is less harmful that traditional smoking, is it still bad for your health, citing nicotine raises your blood pressure, heart rate, and the likelihood of having a heart attack.
There are many unknowns about vaping, including what chemicals make up the vapor and how they affect physical health over the long term.
“Teenagers, parents think that if they aren’t smoking a traditional or regular cigarette that it’s not harmful, but in truth it is because you’re still getting the nicotine product," Dr. Thompson said. "So it still has the same potential affects and then the long term, as far as addiction whether that be cigarettes or drug use, it’s certainly there.”
Dr. Thompson said they have more information on e-cigarettes at the Children’s Clinic and that information is also available online.