The American Heart Association recently updated its Construct of Cardiovascular Health, the organization’s checklist to measure cardiovascular health.
This new version, called Life’s Essential 8TM includes one addition (sleep – we’ll talk about that in another blog post!) and updates to several other health and lifestyle factors.
One of these updates is cigarette smoking, which is now referred to as nicotine exposure. This category has been broadened to include e-cigarettes (vaping), and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Vaping is a big concern, especially among youth. According to the CDC, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth since 2014.
Our Dangers of Vaping poster warns youth and adults about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes. Here are some teaching tips to go along with it:
- For health professionals and health educators: this Healthcare Provider Conversation Card will help prepare you to talk to kids about vaping.
- For parents: this tip sheet will help you discuss vaping with your children.
- For everyone: watch this video from MD Anderson Cancer Center to learn the basics of vaping and e-cigarettes.
Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD
Do you work with teens? Have you ever been asked to present to a class of high school students? Teens can be a tough audience, but the information you share might end up making a big impact on their health and wellness.
Here are three potential topics that are relevant to teenagers, along with facts and recommendations for education materials/resources that will make your job easier.
- The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teens sleep 8–10 hours/day.
- According to the CDC, about 7 out of 10 teens don’t get enough sleep on school nights.
- Common Sense Media reports that 29% of teen smartphone owners say they’ve been woken up by their phones during the night by a call, text, or notification.
#2: Physical Activity
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition recommends at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity for youth up to age 17.
- American Heart Association says that only about 1 in 4 high school students get the recommended hour a day of physical activity.
- Common Sense Media reports that American teens spend an average of nearly 7.5 hours/day in front of screens (not including homework or school). (That was in 2019 — it’s probably worse for 2020!)
- While a recent CDC/FDA report shows that teen tobacco use is down, nearly 1 in 4 high school students still use tobacco products.
- E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students.
Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD
Vaping has been getting a lot of press since last year’s outbreak of lung injuries related to e-cigarettes. But even before that, the Surgeon General called on health care providers and teachers to inform youth about the dangers of vaping. (1)
Our new Dangers of Vaping poster is a great starting point for these important conversations. Display this poster wherever kids or parents will see it – in cafeterias, gyms, classrooms, exam rooms, waiting areas, and offices.
We know you may not be familiar with vaping, so here’s some basic information about the topic and tips on where to find out more:
Where to find accurate information:
- Start by watching this video from MD Anderson Cancer Center. It touches on pretty much everything you need to know about vaping and is easy to understand.
- Next, check out these two websites for facts, tip sheets, infographics, and other resources:
Vaping basics you need to know:
- Vapes (e-cigarettes) are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.
- Vaping refers to the use of e-cigarettes, which are electronic devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales through a mouthpiece.
- E-cigarettes come in all shapes and sizes. They are also known as e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, e-hookahs, mods, and tank systems.
- Click here for a comprehensive glossary, including pictures. You can also see what the devices look like in the video mentioned above.
- Juul is a very popular brand of e-cigarettes. Juuls are shaped like USB drives, making them easy for kids to hide. They also come in flavors that appeal to youth.
- The vaping liquid typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. E-cigarette devices can also be used with marijuana and other substances.
- Besides nicotine, the liquid may also contain other harmful ingredients, such as:
- Flavorants (like diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease).
- Volatile organic compounds (like benzene, which is found in car exhaust).
- Heavy metals (like nickel, tin, and lead).
- Many parents and youth don’t realize that most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, even though the label may not say so.
- Nicotine comes from tobacco and is highly addictive.
- Nicotine affects brain development. Since the brain is still developing until about age 25, the use of any tobacco product is particularly dangerous for youth and young adults.
- Other potential dangers from vaping include:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- Lung damage.
- Stomach upset.
- Worsened asthma.
Free downloads we like:
- Surgeon General’s parent tip sheet.
- Surgeon General’s health care provider conversation card.
(1) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General—Executive Summary. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016. Accessed online February 2020.