Vaping – Harmless or Damaging?

Vaping is often perceived as the safe option to smoking, with the colourful packaging and attractive flavours, it’s easy to downplay into a harmless habit.

First and foremost, vaping is illegal in Singapore! It can cause significant harm to our lungs, the inhalation of chemicals found in e-cigarette vapor can lead to lung damage and even severe respiratory conditions.

Please know that underneath the mask of enticing flavours, vapes or e-cigarettes often contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can alter brain development in teenagers and young adults. The addiction can lead to other harmful behaviours and make quitting more difficult. Therefore, the argument of vaping being the better option to smoking is flawed; and vaping also isn’t proven to help users quit cigarettes.

Moreover, the long-term effects of vaping are still unknown; unlike cigarettes, which have been studied extensively, vapes or e-cigarettes are relatively new. This means that the full spectrum of health consequences may not be fully understood for years to come. It’s also worth noting that while the tobacco industry is tightly regulated from ingredients, nicotine content to advertising & labelling; vape regulations however varies by countries.

Another crucial point is the potential for vaping devices to malfunction, there have been numerous reports of e-cigarettes exploding or catching fire, causing injuries to users.

Finally, vaping can act as a gateway to smoking cigarettes, which are known to cause a myriad of health issues including cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Avoiding vaping altogether is a proactive step towards maintaining overall health and well-being.

But what if your teen is experimenting with vaping?

This can be a concerning and challenging situation for any parent. Here are some steps you can take to address the issue effectively and supportively:

  1. Open a Dialogue: Approach the topic calmly and non-judgmentally. Ask open-ended questions to understand why they are vaping and listen to their reasons without interrupting.
  2. Educate: Provide them with accurate information about the risks associated with vaping. Share facts and research about the potential health implications, including lung damage and addiction.
  3. Set Clear Expectations: Establish clear and consistent rules regarding vaping. Explain the reasons behind these rules and the consequences of not adhering to them.
  4. Be Supportive: Offer your support to help them quit. This might include finding resources such as therapy or counselling, support groups, or cessation programs designed for teenagers.
  5. Lead by Example: If you use tobacco or vape, consider quitting. Demonstrating a commitment to a healthy lifestyle can be a powerful influence on your teenager.
  6. Monitor and Supervise: Keep an eye on their activities and peers. Encourage healthy hobbies and interests that can serve as positive distraction to vaping.
  7. Seek professional Help: If your teen continues to struggle, don’t hesitate to consult healthcare professionals for advice & support,

Remember, patience and understanding are key. Your teenager may need time and support to overcome this challenge, and your role as a supportive and informed parent can make a significant difference in their journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

This is contributed by Dr Shivani Paliwal, she is based in IMC Children’s.

Dr Shivani Paliwal

Languages: English, Hindi, Punjabi

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