Finally in the news this week is a look at the widely popular trend called Vaping. These nicotine delivery devices touted as a way to safely stop smoking are essentially unregulated drug delivery devices. The problem is that these devices are seen as completely safe for everyone to use and many teens are using them, becoming addicted to the nicotine dispensed by them. Now a new study is exposing a whole new issue for parents and educators regarding these devices.
Synthetic Drugs Hidden in e-Cigarettes
Researchers in Connecticut talked to four thousand teenagers who admitted they used the nicotine vaporizers. Of the admitted vapers, about 20% of them also admitted to using the devices to vaporize synthetic drugs like synthetic marijuana. The risks involved are typical with a new drug delivery device being abused by new users. There are no ways to gauge the concentration of the liquid being vaped and the e-cigarettes can quickly deliver a harmful concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
Another recent study says that teens using these devices can also be more at risk for moving into using regular cigarettes as a result with all those additional health risks. This doesn’t appear to be a concern for adults who use the vaporizers. They seem to be using them to help quit smoking. Adults are 27 times less likely to use the vaporizers to abuse illegal drugs.
It is important for nurses and other health professionals to be advocates and proponents for good health behaviors and information. In the case of these nicotine vaporizers, that risk is in the unregulated nature of the devices and ways that some, especially teens, can use them to hide illicit drug abuse. Be on the lookout and talk with patients and parents about these risks.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode – Chronic Pain Management With Opioids and Episode 361.