More Youth are Vaping than Using Cigarettes. Here’s Why Parents Should Care

In 2017, 11.1 percent of Utah youth used a vape product regularly, compared to 2.9 percent who used cigarettes regularly, according to TheTobaccoTalk.org.

DeAnn Kettenring, the Health Commissioner of Utah PTA, stopped by to give us the facts about how nicotine - whether it is smoked, vaped, or chewed - affects youth.

She says that nicotine in any form is addictive, and trains young brains to crave nicotine at a higher rate than an adult brain. Kettenring also said nicotine has been shown to cause bouts of anxiety and depression in youth, as well.

And though some people think vaping is a safer way to "smoke" than using traditional cigarettes, Kettenring says that the nicotine levels can be even higher in e-cigarettes. With e-cigarettes, she says you're still inhaling chemicals and are even at risk for Popcorn Lung, so they are not necessarily safe. She said she would like to see more research on the long-term effects of vaping, compared to traditional modes of nicotine intake.

Jamie Reeves, a parent spokesperson of The Tobacco Talk, says she started smoking at age 14, so she knows how addictive nicotine can be. She has since quit, and says parents can help their kids do the same, or better yet - never start in the first place. That's what The Tobacco Talk is - a resource that helps you start the conversation with your kids, because experts found that the no. 1 reason kids choose not to use a harmful substance is parent disapproval.

Join the conversation, as well as find tobacco facts and more, at thetobaccotalk.org.