What Parents and Guardians Should Know About the Vaping Epidemic and How Our Residential Programs for Teens Can Help

The popularity of vaping among teenagers has become a major public health concern...

James Ekbatani
April 2, 2024

Over the past few years, the rising popularity of vaping among teenagers has become a major concern for public health. With the emergence of various substances like Delta-8, THC, and nicotine in the vaping world, it is crucial to shed light on the dangers these substances pose to adolescents and how residential programs for teens can help.

Several factors contribute to why teenagers find it easier to vape compared to other forms of smoking or substance use. The discrete nature of vaping equipment allows users to hide it easily, making it more convenient for teenagers to use without being caught. The smell of vaping doesn’t linger the way that smoking marijuana or cigarettes would. The appealing and broad range of flavors, such as fruit, dessert, or other sweet options, makes it easier to connect to the substance.

Peer Influence

The perception that vaping is less harmful than traditional smoking may lead teenagers to believe they are engaging in less risky behavior. Among our team, Lotus Behavioral Health Clinical Manager, Gabriel Dominguez-Contreras, shares that adolescents often come into treatment at our residential treatment center claiming that “they can stop using at any time” or “everyone does it.”

The presence of peer influence and social pressures can also play a significant role, as vaping may be seen as a way to fit in or become part of a particular group. Videos on social media platforms, such as Tik Tok and Snapchat, normalize teenagers vaping. Once someone begins vaping, it becomes easier for them to be dependent on these substances.

Chemical Concern

There are different substances that teenagers can use to vape. Teenagers may be drawn to using Delta-8 for a few reasons. Delta-8 gained popularity as a legal loophole to traditional THC products in the state of Florida. It is derived from hemp, a variety of cannabis that contains low levels of Delta-9-THC. The product is widely accessible and available at gas stations, convenience stores, and smoke shops as vaping cartridges and candy.

However, the FDA has warned against the use of Delta-8 and its potential for putting the general public’s health at risk. It is aware of the attractive marketing ploys that the industry uses to incite usage.

In a 2022 interview, Michael Radka, the Executive Director of Lotus Behavioral Health, stated: “This is not CBD oil. This is not medical marijuana. This is a substance that is here in Central Florida, that is not regulated. This is not something that happens from just smoking a joint of marijuana. This is something that is much more shocking, much more severe. And there are reasons why other states have made this illegal.”

In addition to Delta-8, many vaping products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nicotine addiction can cause serious physical and mental health consequences and may open the doors to other substances. In a period of adolescent development, substances especially distort reality and impair judgment. Teenagers are especially vulnerable to the effects of addiction. The long-term effects of vaping are unknown and pose a big threat to the health of adolescents who use it.

Healing Is Possible with our Residential Programs for Teens

Although vaping use is widespread and normalized, its dangers should not be minimized. The clinical team at Lotus Behavioral Health works with teenage patients on recovery from substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, or borderline personality disorder. Our groups and sessions focus on a whole-person perspective that helps clients answer questions about who they are and how they got here. As part of our behavioral health treatment plan, we help both the individual and their family dive into the core issues of fear, acceptance, rejection, coping, and thought distortion.

If you or a loved one is seeking services for substance use disorder, reach out to the Lotus Behavioral Health team for additional information on our services and the different levels of care we offer at our adolescent treatment facility. You can begin this process by visiting our Admissions page, where you can view more information about a complimentary brief assessment to determine eligibility.

For more information, contact Lotus Behavioral Health for an intake consultation at (833) 948-2273 or visit our website.