Start Your Journey Today 855.940.6229

What to Know if Your Teen is Vaping

What to Know if Your Teen is Vaping

a vape and a phone on a side table with two teens in the background to show signs your teen is vaping

While it is well-known that teens take risks, the latest risk is vaping or electronic cigarette use. Teenagers may think vaping is not that serious, but it can impact their health seriously. Vaping is a new dangerous trend, hooking the next generation on nicotine or marijuana quickly. 

Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness recognizes that teen vaping can lead to substance abuse and mental health difficulties. We offer an outpatient treatment program that helps to address mental health and substance use issues for teens and their families. If your teen requires teen substance abuse treatment, contact us today at 855.940.6229

What Is Vaping?  

Vaping is where a vapor created by a vaping device, like an e-cigarette, is inhaled. Electronic cigarettes, also called vape pens, heat up a liquid until it becomes a vapor that the individual inhales. This liquid often contains nicotine, marijuana oil, or distillate. 

Electronic cigarettes can come pre-filled or refillable with cartridges that have the e-liquid. The pre-filled e-cigarettes are designed for one-time use. Once the teen takes a certain number of “puffs,” they toss the device out.  

Dangers of Teen Vaping 

Vaping does have several health risks, including: 

  • Becoming a smoker  
  • Addiction 
  • Depression and anxiety 
  • Sleep problems 
  • Chronic bronchitis 
  • Exposure to chemicals that cause cancer 
  • Life-threatening lung damage 

There is the possibility of other health effects. Vaping hasn’t been around for very long. Therefore, all potential health risks aren’t clearly known. 

Harmful Compounds with Vaping 

There’s concern about the specific long-term effects of other types of compounds that vaping contains, particularly regarding cancer, since many of the compounds are potential carcinogens. 

There are still other harmful compounds in vapors, such as: 

  • Cancer-causing chemicals 
  • Ultrafine particles that lead to lung disease 
  • Metals like lead and formaldehyde 

E-cigarettes also include different aerosols, including:  

  • Toxic metal particles such as lead, nickel, and chromium, which individuals can inhale into their lungs. 
  • The chemicals acrolein, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde are also in the smoke of cigarettes, which can lead to irreversible lung damage. 
  • Other toxic chemicals include propylene oxide, acrylonitrile, and crotonaldehyde. 

Not only are there risks to vaping on its own, but research shows that teens who vape have a higher likelihood of starting smoking cigarettes, despite their often-deadly and well-known health consequences like heart disease and lung cancer. 

Signs Your Teen is Vaping  

Unless a parent catches their teen vaping, it can be hard to know if they’re actually vaping. The best approach parents can take is to talk with their teens regularly about tobacco products and vaping. Parents and loved ones can also make themselves aware of the company and friends their child is keeping. 

While it’s simpler for a teen to hide their vaping habit than it would be to hide the fact that they smoke regular cigarettes, stay tuned into their teen’s routines, and do a little detective work, there are several signs your teen is vaping that parents can look out for.  

1. The Air Has a Sweet Scent  

Many vaping pods had sweet flavors before the recent ban. Teens often preferred these. After vaping, these can often linger in the air. While sweet flavor pods were banned recently to curb teenage vaping, teens may still have some of these prohibited products left, or parents may be able to recall a sweet smell coming from their child’s room in the past. 

2. Unfamiliar USB Drives and Pens  

Although e-cigarettes can come in various forms, they often look like USB flash drives or writing pens. However, these devices will have a hole on each end. 

3. Nosebleeds  

If a parent notices their child experiencing nosebleeds, the culprit could be vaping. One of the chemicals in the e-liquid, propylene glycol, is a dehydrating chemical that reduces the moisture inside the nose. When individuals vape, many exhale the vapor through their noses, which causes dryness and can cause nosebleeds. 

4. Drinking More Water  

Vaping can lead to dry mouth or dehydration, most likely due to the propylene glycol ingredient in the e-liquid. If a parent’s child seems to be drinking more water than usual or if they have dark circles under their eyes (a dehydration symptom), it may be time to investigate further. 

5. Mouth Sores or Smoker’s Cough  

Some research now links e-cigarettes to smokers’ cough and mouth sores that don’t heal. The vapors upset a person’s immune system, adversely affecting human cells. 

6. New Chargers and Batteries  

Most vaping devices require chargers or batteries that must be changed after the device has been used for a couple of hours. However, some only require a USB cable to charge them. Parents should look out for unfamiliar battery charging devices or batteries. 

7. Discarded Vaping Devices and Pods  

If parents notice items like discarded pods, cotton balls, atomizers (small devices that cause the liquid to turn into vapor), or thin metallic oils in their child’s trash or backpack, it’s a good sign they’re vaping. 

Understanding the scope of these dangers and recognizing the signs your teen is vaping are the first steps in a caring and supportive approach toward guiding them away from potential harm. 

Get Help with Teen Vaping in Massachusetts – Call MCAW Today 

At Massachusetts Center for Adolescent Wellness (MCAW), we take a comprehensive approach to treating several behavioral and mental health issues, including teen vaping. Our skilled and highly-trained specialists work with the clients and their families to help come up with a tailored treatment plan that will address their health concerns. 

MCAW provides specialists trained in various forms of therapy, including family therapy, which helps rebuild family connections damaged by various behavioral or mental health problems. Contact us at 855.940.6229 to learn more about teen treatment programs.