SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Vaping has become an epidemic among teens and now we're starting to see some of the health risks that come along with e-cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control said nationwide there has been more than 100 cases of severe lung related injuries that can be linked to vaping. Whether it was respiratory failure, people needing ventilators, or even death, the one thing all the patients have in common is that they used e-cigarettes.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital Nurse Practitioner, Amie Miller, said there is still a lot unknown about e-cigarettes and what's actually in them. It's been reported that some e-cigarettes contain heavy metals, nickel, and zinc.
Even though e-cigarettes don't have tobacco in them, they do have nicotine in them, which is highly addictive and dangerous.
"Remember, this little cartridge has as much nicotine in it as an entire pack of cigarettes so if a child is using two or three or four of these a day, the doses of nicotine that they're getting is reaching toxic levels," said Miller.
Miller went onto say even though e-cigarettes don't produce smoke like a traditional cigarette does, what's coming out of them isn't exactly water vapor, like some people think.
"This vapor that's you know that's being puffed out has these volatile organic compounds in it. It has these heavy metals. So I wouldn't necessarily want my child standing next to someone who is using an electronic cigarette and is inhaling that. So yeah I think that there are potentially some dangers related to being exposed to the vapor that is used with these devices," Miller said.
Some people think because they're not lighting up an e-cigarette and creating carbon monoxide, like you do with a traditional cigarette, it's better for you. But, health professionals say an e-cigarette still heats up, meaning the vapor in a user's lungs is heated, which could create a cancer causing effect.
Currently, there aren't many quitting methods developed for teens who want to stop vaping. Because vaping is an epidemic among teens, a lot of the people using these e-cigarettes are too young to use the traditional cigarette quitting methods because it's not good for their health.
If someone wants to quit e-cigarettes, it will require a change in behavior and habits.
"One of the things that we always recommend is delaying the craving. So if you're having a craving for a cigarette or an electronic device, try to delay that as long as you can. And you do that by distracting yourself so getting up doing something different, keeping your hands busy, keeping your mind busy, different things like that," Miller said.
Another method teens should try out is texting “ditchjuul” to 887-09. This is a method created through the Truth company. It will regularly send text messages to the person with motivation to quit and tries to hold them accountable. Miller said because this method uses a cell phone to reach teens, hopefully it will be an effective method for that age group. More information about this method can be found here.