My advice to teens about vaping. Know the facts

Posted on February 20, 2023 By Colin

MY ADVICE FOR TEENS is don’t smoke and don’t vape. However, it is your decision and you need to know the facts so you can make an informed choice.

Most of the information on vaping in the media is alarmist and misleading, and often plain wrong including campaigns by NSW Health and other state governments and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, so I have made a short (2-minute) video to give you the facts.

You may also like to see my Dr Col’s Vape Truth videos which outline the real truths about vaping.

Vaping involves heating a liquid with nicotine into an aerosol which is inhaled. Vapes are designed to help adult smokers quit.

Some kids try vaping because others are doing it and out of curiosity. However, they are not for non-smokers, particularly for young people.

Vapes are not harmless but are much less harmful than smoking. Most of the harm from smoking is caused by over 7,000 chemicals from burning tobacco. Vapour contains only a small fraction of those chemicals and those present are in very low doses.

The main side effects from vaping are cough, headaches, dizziness and sore throat. Some kids also become addicted to nicotine which can make it difficult to stop.

However, the long-term risks are as yet unknown and we may find that there are problems down the track.

However, much of what you read about vaping is not true. Vaping does not cause serious lung disease, such as ‘EVALI’ and ‘popcorn lung’ or seizures.

Most vapes used by kids are illegal products sold on the black-market and are not regulated, so we don’t know about the safety of those products.

Look, I know kids take risks and we have all done things we are not supposed to. However, vaping is far less harmful than many other risky behaviours such as smoking, heavy drinking and using illicit drug, but there is still some risk.

My strongest advice is not to smoke. Smoking is incredibly harmful and more addictive than vaping. Smoking kills two out of three long-term smokers and is probably the most harmful thing you can do.

My advice to all of you is not to vape. But you need to know the facts and at the end of the day it is your choice.

If you do choose to vape, here is a leaflet with some ideas on how to reduce the harm from vaping.

There is further information about vaping on my website here  if you want to find out more.

My other articles on teen vaping

Study debunks fears of youth vaping

The war against youth vaping: a message for Australian authorities

Youth vaping. The other side of the story

Vaping by teens – should we be alarmed?

Further information for teens

Sheffield City Council 

Dovetail. Queensland-based youth AOD training organisation

Talk to Frank

Action on Smoking and Health, UK
ASH brief for local authorities on youth vaping

National Health Service, UK
Young people and vaping

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