Ask the docs: Vaping? Proceed with caution

King Features SyndicateMarch 8, 2014 

Q: My 16-year-old daughter is vaping. Have you heard of this?! How can I persuade her it’s not a good idea?

GRETCHEN F., Lexington, Ky.

A: For those of you who need a quick course on vaping: It’s a hipster version of smoking tobacco. Retail vaporiums sell flavored vapor cartridges — with or without nicotine. Placed in high-tech gadgets, the cartridges are battery-activated to produce a smokeless cloud when you inhale.

The vaping liquids are sometimes made with propylene glycol (other bases are used, but not all companies say what they are). Though the Food and Drug Administration says propylene glycol generally is safe in personal-care products and plastics, animal research indicates that inhaling the chemical may affect fertility and the health of offspring.

You also can tell your daughter that one study found five minutes of vaping lowers lung function as much as smoking a conventional cigarette.

In its favor, this cloud of vapor doesn’t contain the 60 known carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. But as a general rule, putting anything besides relatively clean air into your lungs can lead to a roster of complications. If your daughter wants to feel hip, suggest nonpermanent, vegetable-based hair color (try red! blue!); you can live with that, and so can she, right?

And for stress relief, suggest joining an after-school athletic program or doing yoga together.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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