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Vaping and e-cigarette use are on the rise among Delaware teens.

More than ever, teens are being tempted to use — and are using — e-cigarettes with regularity. Commonly called “vaping,” this trend has been on the rise for the past several years, despite legislation in Delaware that bans the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.

Teenage girl vaping

What are e-cigarettes?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines e-cigarettes as battery-powered devices that heat and deliver liquid nicotine, flavors, and other ingredients to users. Although using an e-cigarette is often called vaping, e-cigarettes do not create water vapor. They create aerosols that can contain harmful metals and chemicals — and often, unknown ingredients. E-cigarettes remain unregulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, many e-cigarettes deliver homemade concoctions of THC and other drugs, at great risk to users’ lungs and overall health.

What do e-cigarettes look like?

Some e-cigarettes look like tobacco cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some take the shape of hookahs, tank systems, or mods. Others are designed to resemble flash drives — such as the Juul® device — which are popular with Delaware youth, as they are easily hidden or misidentified by school authorities.

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How do I know my child is vaping?

Certain behaviors or physical changes in your teen may indicate that he or she is vaping. Those signs include:

  • Changes in mood, learning capacity, ability to reason, attention span, impulse control, and decision-making
  • Dry mouth or dehydration
  • Nosebleeds
  • Unexplained sweet scent
  • Unusual USB drives and pens
  • Coughing or mouth sores
  • Excessive throat clearing
  • Unfamiliar batteries or chargers
  • Empty e-liquid pods
  • Abdominal pain

Talk vaping with your teen.

When you talk with your kids about vaping, play it casual. Start the conversation by asking what they know about it. Some of the things you should communicate include:

  • Nicotine can lead to high blood pressure, fatigue, and sudden mood changes.
  • Nicotine can lead to expensive and lifelong health problems.
  • Vaping is a serious decision — not like drinking a slushy. Nicotine is a serious drug.
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