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Vaping – is it harmful?

Pastor Dean Honeycutt

Mitchell County

Vaping among teens has skyrocketed over the past several years. “In 2015, the US surgeon general reported that e-cigarette use among high school students had increased by 900 percent. And 40 percent of these teen e-cigarette users had never smoked regular tobacco.” In our mountain communities, we have seen a huge jump in vaping.  Coaches, teachers, and parents are concerned about the increased use of vape. “Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults. In 2018, 1 in 5 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past month.” (US Surgeon General)

What is vaping?

“Vaping refers to the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, or vapor, created by a vaping device. A vaping device includes a mouthpiece, a battery, a heating component, and a cartridge that contains the e-liquid or e-juice. The e-liquid is a combination of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. The battery powers the heating component, which heats up the e-liquid, also known as vape juice. As a result, the device produces water vapor. Users inhale this vapor into their lungs.”

There are many different types of flavors used for vaping. Vape cartridges are wrapped in cool designs and labeling that appeal to young people. Flavors include candy, bubble gum, cotton candy, strawberry, chocolate, watermelon, apple pie – just about anything you can imagine. All this, with a battery powered vaping device that produces a little smoke, is way more appealing than a traditional cigarette. Peer pressure, along with marketing techniques, lure youth into trying this highly addictive drug which is very harmful to the brain and lungs.

What are the dangers of vaping?

“No matter how it’s delivered, nicotine is harmful to youth and young adults. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine as well as other chemicals that are known to damage health. For example, users risk exposing their respiratory systems to potentially harmful chemicals in an e-cigarette “ (US Surgeon General).  Some of these chemicals include diacetyl, propylene, glycol, glycerol, and metals such as nickel, tin, and lead. All these have been linked to cancer, respiratory disease, and heart disease.

The vaping juice could also be laced with marijuana and other dangerous chemicals. These fine particles are inhaled into the lungs causing damage in blood vessels and the brain, also potentially leading the way to other drugs. Vaping is dangerous and harmful. Many teens are under the impression that vaping is less harmful than the traditional cigarette.  Listen, all tobacco products are harmful. We can not see inside our bodies and see the damage of nicotine and alcohol. Believe me, it is there, and once the damage has been done one cannot get their health back. I am by no means perfect and will never claim such; however, I have seen the harmful results of nicotine and alcohol in the lives of family members who suffered from cancer and heart disease. Some people say of cigarette use “well, something is going to kill me. I just soon die of something I enjoy doing.” Well, that is no way to live, especially for a Christian.

How can I help my teen?

  1. In a loving way, share the dangers of e-cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. Show them pictures of users and testimonies of addicts. A little scare tactic never hurt anything, but just be honest about it.
  2. Live by example; do not do anything you would not want your child to do. Your influence as a parent is more powerful than you realize.
  3. Pray for your child often.
  4. Limit opportunities for peer pressure. You, by no means, can totally avoid peer pressure; however, you can provide opportunities with church events, camps, and an open, friendly atmosphere at home that encourages positive role models and fun times.
  5. Every parent faces this, even Pam and I. We have dealt with and are dealing with the use of tobacco products. We live in an area where many of our grandparents made a living off growing tobacco. The very thing that provided income for my grandfather caused him to have a leaky heart valve. When told by a doctor to lay down the cigarettes and he could potentially add years to his life, my grandfather stopped smoking cold turkey. God allowed him to live long after the bad diagnosis of his heart condition.
  6. The power of the Gospel is the only thing that can change a life and remove an addiction.

Consider this powerful testimony of a changed life.

“I’m thinking of my own life and the way I use to live it, Preacher Dean. I was an alcoholic, a drug addict, and the bars were my church many years ago. I bet you didn’t know that about me or even think of me being that way, huh? I’ve been reading Hebrews and my old sins have come back to me. I had a DWI and was almost killed while driving drunk and messed up on cocaine and speed. So, my conclusion to Hebrews, after reading it so many times, is that if Jesus could pull me out of that life then He can do that for anyone who’s saved. I’ve been washed in the blood of Christ, I believe in that blood and the cross, and I am a child of God. We can all have that. God was not going to let me go, was He?”

All of us worry about our children, and there is no guarantee that they would not try something at some point in their life. However, we can do everything within our power to keep our kids away from addictions. The devil wants to destroy their lives, but “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

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Pastor Dean Honeycutt shepherds Snow Hill Baptist Church in Bakersville, NC. He may be reached at 828-385-0213, snowhillbaptist@gmail.com, or visit their website at www.snowhillbaptist.com.

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