The Dangers of Vaping

In response to the U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory, GCISD's Counseling and Health Services departments are taking action to help students who struggle with e-cigarettes and vaping.

Did you know the nicotine in e-cigarettes can harm brain development?
It’s a fact. Brain development continues through the mid-20s, and using nicotine during adolescence can impact attention, learning, and memory.

Did you know the nicotine in e-cigarettes can prime the brain for addiction – especially while it is still growing?
No matter how it's delivered, nicotine is addictive and harmful for youth and young adults.


Resources

Information on how Parents Can Take Action

For more facts about the risks of e-cigarettes and how to protect our youth, visit any of these organizations:

Surgeon General | CDC | TDSHS | TCPH


How An E-cigarette Works

E-cigarettes create an aerosol by using a battery to heat up liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver cannabinoids such as marijuana, and other drugs.


Know the Risks

Brain Risks
The part of the brain that's responsible for decision making and impulse control is not yet fully developed during adolescence. Young people are more likely to take risks with their health and safety, including the use of nicotine and other drugs. Youth and young adults are also uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine. These risks include nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and permanent lowering of impulse control. Nicotine also changes the way synapses are formed, which can harm the parts of the brain that control attention and learning.

Addiction
How does the nicotine in e-cigarettes affect the brain? Until about age 25, the brain is still growing. Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people's brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Because addiction is a form of learning, adolescents can get addicted more easily than adults. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and other tobacco products can also prime the adolescent brain for addiction to other drugs such as cocaine.

Behavior Risks
E-cigarette use among youth and young adults is strongly linked to the use of other tobacco products, such as regular cigarettes, cigars, hookah, and smokeless tobacco. Some evidence suggests that e-cigarette use is linked to alcohol use and other substance use, such as marijuana. And certain e-cigarette products can be used to deliver other drugs like marijuana.

Aerosol and Other Risks
The aerosol from e-cigarettes is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including nicotine; ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavoring such diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. Scientists are still working to understand more fully the health effects and harmful doses of e-cigarette contents when they are heated and turned into an aerosol, both for active users who inhale from a device and for those who are exposed to the aerosol secondhand. Another risk to consider involves defective e-cigarette batteries that have been known to cause fires and explosions, some of which have resulted in serious injuries. Most of the explosions happened when the e-cigarette batteries were being charged.

The Bottom Line
Scientists are still learning more about how e-cigarettes affect health. However, there is already enough evidence to justify efforts to prevent e-cigarette use by young people.

Information taken from e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov