Are you aware of a new trend called vaping? If you haven't and you are a mom to a teenager, you need to acquaint yourself with this popular activity for American teenagers. A recent report mentioned that 25% of teenagers have tried to vape or smoke the e-cigarette. Not only high schoolers but even kids aged 13-15 have experimented with e-cigs or e-hookahs as well! Many youngsters are so interested in it that this activity spreads rapidly right under the noses of teachers and parents! If you are wondering, "How old do you have to be to vape?" Well, this article will address your concerns.
What Does "to Vape" Mean?
"To vape" means to smoke e-cigarrates in form of vape pens. Vape pens are small pocket-devices that range from the size of a pen to a cigar. A single pen contains 3 main components:
- A cartridge called e-liquid, containing nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, a wide variety of herbs and waxes. The herbs add a distinct flavor to the vapor.
- A heating element -- atomizer
- A rechargeable battery for its operation
when a person vapes, she or he inhales the water vapor produced by heating the concentrates in the vape pen. Unlike smoking which burns nicotine and turns it to smoke and ash, vaping uses the atomizer to heat the e-liquid and turn it to water vapor.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Vape?
Vaping is a new concept and there are no specific rules laid down for its use. However, as research shows, the vape pens contain nicotine that can harm the lungs. We recommend that you stay completely away from these e-cigarettes; if you really want to try it, you should wait until you are above 18 years old.
State Regulations About Vaping and E-cigarettes
Some vigilant states have noticed the growing trend of vaping amongst teens and are taking measures to curb it. Although there are rare regulations about "How old do you have to be to vape", there are many regulations about its selling and marketing.
1. States That Prohibit Selling E-Cigarettes to Anyone Under 18
The following states have clear rule that e-cigarettes can't be sold to teens under age 18:
Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Delaware, Georgia, Hawai, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
- Indoor smoking is also banned in Arkansas.
- California fines people vaping about $100, $200 or $500.
- North Carolina taxes it at 5 cents/ml.
- Louisiana increased the tax by 100% while New York imposed a 95% tax.
2. States Prohibit Selling E-Cigarettes to Anyone Under 19
Alabama, Alaska and New Jersey.
Besides, Utah also bans indoor e-cigarette smoking.
3. Other States' Regulations
- New Mexico, Maine and Montana have no laws against e-cigarettes.
- Texas does not ban their sales.
- Massachusetts, North Dakota and Pennsylvania ban them from public places.
- Illinois banned their sale, while Oregon requires FDA approval.
- Columbia imposes indoor smoking bans on e-cigs.
Note: You may have noticed that there is a loophole. These laws pertain ONLY to the sale of e-cigarettes, but have no regulations prohibiting the possession of these pens by minors.
Why Do Teens Vape?
Some teens may think vaping as a form of rebellion, while others use this technology to become socially accepted amongst peers. They use e-cigarettes to appear "cool", distract themselves from either problems at home or school, or are simple bored. Moreover, manufacturers have begun luring teens by producing very attractive and designer e-cigs by giving them different flavors, and by manufacturing pens that smokers can blow bigger clouds. What's more, these vape pens are easily accessible online.
Side Effect of Vaping
Vaping is a new trend so there is not enough research to cover all of its negative effects on human body, like its long term sides effects. If you know its sides effects, you may no need to ask "How old di you have to be to vape" because you will know stay away from it is the best choice. Here are some of its short term side effects:
E-cigarettes contain a high amount of vegetable glycerine which could lead to dehydration causing dry mouth. Moreover, dehydration could further lead to dry, scaly and itchy skin, which can form flakes and fall off. As a result, skin appears patchy and inflamed.
People can be prone to "chain vape" in stimulating environments like vape shops, but the nicotine content in e-cigarettes can be very harmful in high doses. People using a Sub Ohm setup should be more aware of the nicotine levels they are inhaling. If you feel flush or dizzy, you should put down the e-cig.
The e-cigs use many different flavors like chocolate, fruits, nuts, etc. and these could be naturally derived. In this case, you could suffer from the similar allergic reactions against these juices. Many people also have an allergy to propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine in the e-cigs.
4. Canker Sores
You may notice these sores in your mouth if you vape regularly. It is not a direct side effect of vaping but due to your inability to keep the vape pen clean. You need to regularly sanitize your e-cig, especially before using. Sharing your e-cig with friends could lead to mouth infections; hence this practice should completely be avoided.
How to Help Teens Stay Away from Vaping
The best mode of action for parents involves educating themselves and their teens about the dangers of vaping. You need to make sure that the teen realizes that vape pens are a fancy word for e-cigarettes and can deliver high nicotine content in their lungs, leading to long term repercussions like lung cancer.