Picture 10 million high school students, and then picture each one of them vaping. In 2018, that's how many either smoked an e-cigarette or were receptive to the idea of trying one.
Additionally, this dangerous trend for kids has more than doubled since 2017. Now it's a public health emergency in the U.S. among teenagers.
Shelley Schmidt, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Spectrum Health, treats patients who vape and visits area schools to speak to students and parents about the dangers of vaping.
Vaping refers to the practice of inhaling an aerosolized combination of chemicals and addictive substances such as nicotine through an e-cigarette, vape pen or other commercially available product. These devices heat a prepared liquid or "juice" into a vapor that is inhaled. The chemicals in the vapor enter the body's bloodstream through the lungs in the same process that nicotine is introduced through traditional smoking.
Nicotine is addictive and can permanently alter the developing brain. Because the brain doesn't fully develop until around age 25, this is especially harmful to teens and young adults.
Vaping exposes smokers to chemicals linked to cancer and lung disease such as diacetyl.
It's never too late to become informed and start fresh. Spectrum Health offers classes where they help people quit smoking.
To learn more or sign up for a class, visit spectrumhealth.org/vaping.