Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2019

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14 Hudson Valley Parent n March 2019 may in fact be an e-cigarette charger that can plug into a computer. E-cigarettes are not safe There's a good chance that your teen might not have the best information about e-cigarettes and parents need to be armed with facts. "E-cigarettes are not safe," Reinhard says. "They contain liquid nicotine, not just flavoring and some herbs; and nicotine is the highly addictive chemical that is present in all tobac- co products including e-cigarettes." Side effects of the many chemicals that are involved range from irritation all the way to cancer. "People who vape have the same level of short-term inflammation and lung damage as VAPING (Continued from Page 13) regular smokers," says Reinhard. "The problem is that many of our kids who are using e-cigarettes have no idea they are addicting themselves to nicotine. Because of the hundreds of flavors, they believe it is just nice tasting flavored water, but they are setting themselves up for a possible lifelong addiction to nicotine." E-cigarettes allow users to make large clouds that many think are just water vapor. The "cloud" is a mixture of many different chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde. Aside from containing poisons and the addictive chemical, nicotine, many of the flavors have harmful additives. Educate yourself, get the message to your kids For parents, she explains, the first part of the discussion is to remind your kids that it's still illegal for you to use. The law says you must be 21 or over to purchase tobacco products, parapher- nalia and electronic cigarettes. Reinhard says, "Currently six of seven counties in the Hudson Valley, including Ulster, Sullivan, Orange, Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties, have adopted a Tobacco 21 local law." Parents need to first educate themselves, Reinhard says. "Reach out to your local council or coalition and get as much information as you can, and then talk to your child." Find healthy alternatives Reinhard also emphasizes that it's important to help kids find healthy alternatives to the stresses of growing up. "Create positive activities and opportunities for young people with all types of interests - both in school and the community. Talking about issues will only lead to a better understanding of how to address it." Olivia L. Lawrence works as an editor for a news organization.

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