Presenter describes vape use as ‘scary thing’ | Gazette-tribune

SIBLEY—A transition from the popularity of combustible to aerosol nicotine sources is causing a new concern to those interacting with teenagers.

Angela Loutsch, health educator for Sioux County Community Health Partners, presented a Lunch & Learn on nicotine and vaping on Thursday at Osceola Regional Health Center in Sibley.

She who most people still picture a stereotypical teen who starts smoking cigarettes.

“Vaping doesn’t follow that same stereotype. It has its own rules of there’s no rules,” Loutsch said. “People that were never interested or would never pick up a cigarette are now picking up a vape. It’s important for us to be educated.”

The three main types of nicotine products addressed were combustibles such as cigarettes and pipes; aerosols such as vaping devices that create aerosol instead of smoke; and smokeless sources that contain tobacco and nicotine.

Vaping growth

“As of 2012, the tobacco industry started getting involved in the vape industry,” Loutsch said.

As smaller companies in the field grew and the market became more saturated, the large tobacco corporations reacted to the success and started buying them out.

“In our country, almost every single vape company is owned by a cigarette company,” Loutsch said.

She said tobacco companies began reusing some of the same tactics implemented to attract teens to cigarettes decades ago, such as cartoons, promoting stress release and the peer pressure that everybody else is doing it.

Cigarettes maintained a hold on the market for more than 125 years after the release of the first mass-produced cigarettes in 1880. Vaping products that began appearing in 2007 mimicked the look of cigarettes and were marketed as a smoking cessation aid.

Concerns with nicotine levels put the product under the oversight of the Food and Drug Administration.

“We’re talking two to three packages worth of cigarettes worth of nicotine in one vaping device,” Loutsch said. “They tell us it’s 350 puffs to get through a pack of cigarettes. This is a 400-puff device.”

Drawn to usage

“Our two main reasons why we have youth telling us they initiate the use of vaping products especially are peer pressure, feeling like everybody is doing it and they need to fit in, and coping with mental health, specifically stress, anxiety and depression,” Loutsch said. “Our youth’s peer pressure is completely different than what we grew up with.”

Familiar flavors that appeal to youth such as candy and pop encourage experimentation.

“When it feels safe, it feels normal,” Loutsch said.

Adults sometimes contribute to the problem. Parents may provide the devices with the idea that they at least can control the contents, or students may get paid for services provided, such as babysitting, with vaping supplies.

Retail employees do not always verify identification, and online purchasing may have weak security measures.

“In the state of Iowa, we do not require a signature upon the arrival through mail for tobacco or nicotine products,” Loutsch said.

Some students even order multiple devices to bring to school and sell.

“Vaping right now in our country is essentially the perfect storm,” Loutsch said. “A younger initiation age really being promoted, and higher nicotine concentration. You add those things together and we have a faster, deeper addiction rate.”

Health effects

All vaping projects contain at least a trace of nicotine, with some products just under the minimum required to list nicotine as an ingredient.

Seeing the effects of vaping products after their more recent emergence gives evidence that nicotine has a more significant negative impact than just tobacco.

Areas especially sensitive to adverse effects include the lungs, heart, teeth and brain.

Often used as a coping mechanism for several mental health issues, this self-medicating instead increases irritability, anger, depression and anxiety while it decreases impulse control and good decision making. Vaping promotes susceptibility by priming the brain for other addictions.

Secondhand exposure risks result from combustible and aerosol products.

Loutsch also presented the effects of thirdhand exposure, where residue settles on clothing, surfaces and floors and does not wash away. Young children and pets are especially affected by these particles.

She added that devices can be tampered with, so vapers often have no certainty of what they are ingesting beyond the nicotine until the product is used. Many contain THC, methamphetamine or fentanyl.

The design of the devices marketed to look like functional school supplies can make detection difficult while disguising the product it contains easier.

“Since they are the same device, it is much easier for our youth to upgrade,” Loutsch said.

The higher nicotine lev­­els cause a quicker addiction response of six to 12 months for…

Read More: Presenter describes vape use as ‘scary thing’ | Gazette-tribune