‘A lot of health consequences down the road’: Doctor educates parents on dangers of teen vaping

In the last few years, vaping in middle and high schools skyrocketed, threatening the progress made against cigarettes and nicotine addiction.

Parents at Edgewood High School are working to fight that, bringing in an internal medicine and pediatric hospitalist Monday night for a discussion on teen vaping.

In his day job, Dr. Brian Williams, the hospitalist, sees adults with serious and chronic lung disease, and he said he doesn’t want to see that start again with the current generation.

Dr.Brian Williams works w/adults who face serious lung diseases. Tonight he’s focusing on preventing those in teens,teaching @EdgewoodHSMad parents about vaping. He worries e-cigs will undo progress made against cigarettes&nicotine as 1/4 kids report using these devices.#News3Now pic.twitter.com/9tmily1KEa

— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) November 19, 2019

“I really worry with these rising rates of adolescent and high school vaping that if we don’t do something quickly, we’re going to have a whole new generation of teenagers who are addicted to nicotine,” Williams said. “Ten, 20, 30 years down the road we’re going to be seeing a lot of health consequences as a result of this epidemic.”

Williams went over the dangers, not just increased usage as a group (up from 11 percent in 2017 to 27 percent this year), but how much high schoolers are vaping. Some, he said, are consuming the equivalent of up to four to five packs a day, which can lead to mood disorders, attention disorders and lifelong addiction.

Mike Elliot, the president of Edgewood, said getting parents involved in the education can help reinforce what they try to teach kids at school.

“The goal is to have the same message and be able to work on things here at school and talked about again at home,” he said.

Williams said that’s the best thing parents can do: Educate themselves and talk with their kids.

“We know the teenage brain is very sensitive to nicotine,” Williams said. “And we know the vast majority of adult smokers started as teenagers. A really important thing parents can do is have this conversation with their kids.”

Williams said there’s more the country and state can do to cut back on the amount of teenage vaping too, including increasing the buying age to 21, eliminating flavored cartridges and taxing the sale of e-cigarettes and other vaping products.

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