The best Rx for teens addicted to vaping? No one knows
| Washington, AP – Teen vaping is an epidemic that now affects some 3.6 million underage users of Juul and other e-cigarettes.
But no one seems to know the best way to help teenagers who may be addicted to nicotine.
E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, according to the latest U.S. figures, which show that Juul and similar products have quickly outpaced cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and other substances that have been tracked over more than four decades.
The handheld devices heat a liquid solution that usually contains nicotine into an inhalable vapor. Federal law prohibits sales to those under 18, though many high schoolers report getting them from older students or online.
In recent months, government officials have rolled out a series of proposals aimed at keeping the products away from youngsters, including tightening sales in convenience stores and online.
In November, vaping giant Juul voluntarily shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts and pulled several flavors out of retail stores.
But there’s been little discussion of how to treat nicotine addiction in children as young as 11 years old. While some adolescents should be able to quit unaided, experts say many will be hampered by withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating and loss of appetite.
Physicians who treat young people now face a series of dilemmas: The anti-smoking therapies on the market — such as nicotine patches and gums — are not approved for children, due to lack of testing or ineffective results. And young people view the habit as far less risky, which poses another hurdle to quitting.
Kicking any addiction requires discipline, patience and a willingness to follow a treatment plan — something that doesn’t come easily to many young people, experts said. Read more.
E-cig Fires, Explosions, and Injuries
Warriors For Justice – E-cig fires and explosions have become a growing concern to firefighters and medical providers who treat burn injuries.
The U.S. Fire Administration conducted an investigation for a July 2017 report which looked at 195 e-cig fires and explosions from January 2009 through December 2016. Among other causes, it found that:
- 61 incidents occurred while in the user’s pocket
- 60 while the device was being used
- 48 while being changed
- 18 while being stored
In its 2017 investigation, the U.S. Fire Administration found that 133 of the 195 incidents caused injuries. It found that 80 were moderate, 38 were severe and 15 were minor.
- Severe injuries are those that required hospitalization where the victim may have suffered the loss of a body part, 3rd-degree burns or facial injuries.
- Moderate injuries are those where the person required emergency room treatment for smoke inhalation, 2nd-degree burns or lacerations requiring stitches.
- Minor injuries are those where the victim suffered smoke inhalation, minor lacerations or 1st-degree burns.
Clearly, e-cigarettes and vaporizers are unsafe products.
Injuries Caused by Electronic Cigarettes
Vaping accidents, explosions, and fires have caused:
- Second and third-degree flame burns
- Chemical burns
- Blast-related injuries
- Loss of limbs
- Facial injuries
- Upper-body burns
- Burns to the groin area (suffered by pocket carriers)
- Gashes which required stitches
- Fractured teeth
- Eye and/or vision loss
- Smoke inhalation
In May 2018, an e-cigarette explosion killed a man in St. Petersburg, Florida. He was found by the fire department that came to put out the fire that ensued from the explosion. The victim was said to have burns to his body and wounds around the mouth. As a result of the explosion, a part of the e-cigarette became a projectile that caused a head injury that ultimately caused his death.
A California man suffered the loss of an eye from an e-cigarette explosion. A former cigarette smoker, he switched to e-cigs because he believed that they were safer. When he put down an e-cigarette he had recently smoked, it exploded and launched a projectile at his eye, broke bones in his face and embedded shrapnel in the eye. The explosion also started a fire on his computer.
In 2015, a vaping lawsuit was filed by a group of plaintiffs in Los Angeles, which included a victim who had lost a finger due to an e-cigarette explosion.
E-cigarettes have even caused injuries to people near the product, but who weren’t actually vaping and when the e-cig wasn’t in use.
In 2016 an e-cigarette explosion in someone’s pocket on a ride at Orlando’s Universal Studios caused burns to the face and upper body to a nearby 14-year old fellow rider. The owner of the e-cigarette suffered burns to his leg, and a hole was burned into the seat of the ride itself. Read more.
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