Why is everyone talking about Vaping?
Pitkin County Public Health
Prevention Specialist, Aspen School District
We want to talk about vaping, but first we want you to think about the young person in your life, whether it’s your child or another child or children in your life. Take a moment to reflect on what you want most for this young person. Maybe it’s health or happiness or reaching their dreams. Let’s start there. While concerns around vaping among youth are real, and we will speak to them here, keeping the bigger picture in mind is really helpful, and lays the foundation to be able to best support our kids as they learn to make important decisions for themselves, including but certainly not limited to vaping.
Now about vaping
Vaping, or the use of e-cigarettes containing nicotine (you can vape other substances, but for this article we are referring to nicotine vaping), has been all over the news recently so you may have heard about it. The U.S. FDA and Surgeon General’s offices have labeled teen vaping an “epidemic”, however the situation in Colorado is unique. Colorado youth are vaping nicotine at 2x the national average and ranking number one in the country. And, in the past few years in the Roaring Fork Valley, the percent of young people who report vaping recently (within the past month) has doubled.
So what, isn’t it just flavored water? (Answer: No!)
E-cigarettes are just what they sound like – electronic devices to get nicotine into your body. Like a traditional cigarette but with a battery and with a liquid containing nicotine instead of the tobacco leaves. Just about every e-cigarette product on the market has nicotine in it, even if the label does not clearly say it (there are national laws that will regulate this but haven’t gone into effect yet). Then there are a host of other chemicals that create the flavor, the “feel”, and the cloud. This is an image from the CDC about the contents:
Colorado has the highest rate of high school students who reported vaping on the 2017 Healthy Kids Survey among the 37 states that participated in the survey.
These chemicals are concerning in and of themselves – there are several known carcinogens and there are also several toxins that are approved for eating but not approved for inhalation, and experience shows they may be toxic when inhaled. CNN’s Juul and the Vape Debate video does a good job of explaining the potential harms of the e-cigarette contents.
However, the biggest concern is the nicotine. Juul, the e-cigarette product that has captured ~70% of the youth market and looks similar to a flash drive, has small interchangeable pods that contain the “vape juice” or liquid nicotine and flavoring. The pods have the same amount of nicotine as 1 pack of cigarettes (and take about 200 puffs to finish). Concerns about nicotine:
What can we do?
During the conversation, use open-ended questions to keep the conversation going. Affirm the young person by focusing on strengths and assets that they have. Use reflective listening by confirming what you are hearing; you can do this by repeating and rephrasing, and paraphrasing what you are hearing, and by acknowledging a feeling.
When talking to your young person, empathize with their feelings, avoid showing judgment, keep asking questions and check for understanding, celebrate their strengths, know when you need to walk away or reschedule the conversation, help them practice skills that reduce stress, and help them get involved with positive activities.
Remember to have ongoing conversations with your youth about vaping. This is not a one-time conversation, or a conversation only during times of discipline or stress.
Check out Speak Now Colorado for practical tips and more information about being a trusted adult for the young people in your life.
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written by: ED Care
So much of our time is spent taking in messages from the world around us. Whether we realize it or not, this constant bombardment can have a devastating impact on our mental health. “Do this”, “Eat that”, “Tone up”, “Slim down” – on and on it goes. The danger comes when we begin to internalize these very external opinions about how we need to look, and in turn, how we should then feel. We have become numb to the messages that matter most. The ones that come unbiasedly from within.
So how can we begin to retrain and strengthen our inner self-advocate? At EDCare, we believe body positivity starts with one very important person, YOU! We know this isn’t always an easy connection to rekindle. To help you establish a happier and healthier way of looking at yourself and your body here are a list of things you can do to help boost your body positivity.
If you or a loved one think you may have an eating disorder, know that you are not alone and help is available. EDCare has 4 outstanding treatment centers in Denver, Colorado Springs, Kansas City, and Lincoln ready to help you achieve lasting recovery. For more information or to schedule a free, confidential assessment call us at 866-771-0861 or visit us online at www.eatingdisorder.care
In this day and age we are continuously trying to improve upon ourselves. Fortunately, technology provides us with the resources that allow us to better ourselves with the click of a button. Want to learn how to complete a home improvement project on your own? There are countless apps available to help you to achieve this task. But what about the websites and apps you have seen to track exercise and calories lost, or help monitor your food intake by having you write down everything you’ve eaten for the entire day? They have you set weight loss goals and the only way to keep your goal if you’ve reached your food limit is to exercise more.
Websites like MyFitnessPal.com or the RunKeeper app are meant to help individuals lead a healthy lifestyle, but what about those who start with the goal of losing 10 pounds and become obsessed? It’s easy to develop tunnel vision once you start counting calories and eating disorder awareness advocates are concerned that this could easily turn into anorexia or bulimia. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some time in their life.
Reach out if you think you have disordered eating habits
An estimated 30 million people in the U.S. have an eating disorder in a given year. Despite the stereotype that eating disorders only affect young women and teen girls, nearly 1/3 of those with eating disorders are men. More than 13% of women over 50 engage in disordered eating. It’s an issue that can affect anyone from any walk of life.
Some eating disorders include:
Eating disorders are mental health disorders with physical symptoms. Like any mental health disorder, there are barriers to treatment, with more than 70% of those with eating disorders not getting help.
One of those barriers is feeling like you aren’t “sick enough” to get help, or that you don’t look thin enough to have a serious problem. But the truth is it’s never too early to seek out help if you might have an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are the most fatal mental health disorders, both because of the physical complications of disordered eating, and because it leads some of its sufferers to suicide.
The important detail to keep in mind is that eating disorders can be treated, and in fact up to 80% of those who complete treatment for an eating disorder are able to recover or improve significantly. Treatment can vary widely and could include therapy, group sessions, guidance from nutritional professionals, or medication. Often someone with an eating disorder will also be living with another mental health disorder, like anxiety or bipolar disorder, and so working with a mental health professional can make it easier to address all causes of disordered eating.
If you or someone you know might be engaging in disordered eating, consider getting help sooner rather than later.
While recovery is possible at any stage, early intervention can make recovery significantly less difficult for someone, both because the behaviors are less ingrained, and because disordered eating has done less damage to their body.
Brief screenings are the quickest way to determine if you or someone you care about should connect with a mental health professional.