If you have never had an asthma attack, you may not realize the terror of being unable to breathe, to not be able to walk even a few steps without gasping for just one single breath. You have no idea what it’s like to carry an inhaler everywhere you go because someone’s perfume or aftershave might trigger an asthma attack, or having to sit and watch others being active when you can’t be. The struggle to breathe is real, and a very life-threatening event.
If you have never watched a loved one’s health decline due to emphysema, lung cancer or another lung disease, you have no idea what it is really like, the pain and suffering that becomes constant, when there is nothing else that can be done except to keep the person as comfortable as possible.
If you understood, you might be less apt to take harmful things into your body, putting you at risk of developing such a fate. You can deny many things. Don’t believe everything you hear. Everyone is not doing it.
Researching the topic of “vaping” reveals the risks involved, the health issues, the links to drug misuse and addiction. If you believe in the science, you should believe the consequences of defying the science.
Vaping (and smoking) can damage a person’s lungs and affect the immune system. Tissue that has suffered harm is more vulnerable, according to a government website, getsmartaboutdrugs.gov. In 2019, 14 percent of high school seniors admitted to vaping marijuana in the past month, nearly double in just one year. Twenty-one percent of 12th graders reported vaping within the past year, a 13.1 percent increase.
Reports from Johns Hopkins advise that there are many unknowns about the safety of vaping, including the chemicals used in the vapors and the long-term effects on the body.
The nicotine content in e-cigarettes is as bad as traditional tobacco use. In fact, vaping can lead to addiction. And using e-cigarettes to stop smoking doesn’t work, sources say. And there are grave concerns about fentanyl-laced vapor oils that are deadly.
Per the Monitoring the Future survey, “Vaping marijuana continues to dramatically increase in popularity among teens.”
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, writes, “The increases in vaping of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, are alarming … we don’t know if THC’s effects differ when vaped versus when smoked in a traditional fashion or whether the amount of THC that youth are being exposed to differs with these methods.”
Volkow says, “Vaping marijuana (THC oil) can be more dangerous than smoking the drug … because people often vape a higher concentration of THC which, in turn, intensifies the high and can increase the likelihood of addiction and adverse medical consequences.”
The Drug Enforcement Administration advises, “Studies have found regular marijuana use during the teen years disrupts brain development and can also lead to problems with attention span, behavior and impulse control in adulthood.”
Take care of yourself. You are a unique subset of one.
Family Recovery Center offers mental health services as well as addiction services. The goal is for the health and well-being of all. For information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact the center at 1010 N. Sixth St., Steubenville; by phone at (740) 283-4946; by e-mail at [email protected]; or visit the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
(Brownfield is a publicist at the Family Recovery Center.)