Boulder County Teens Holds Second Highest Rate of e-Cigarette Use in Colorado

(LONGMONT, COLO.) Longmont United Hospital - Centura Health, the region’s health care leader, is on a mission to help parents understand and talk to their teens about the dangers of using nicotine. Use of nicotine during adolescence increases the risk of developing psychiatric disorders and cognitive impairment later in life, as well as attention deficits. Although nicotine is legal, it is just as addictive as heroin, cocaine or alcohol.

According to the 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it found that vaping had increased 78 percent among high school students since last year and almost 48 percent among middle schoolers; 3.6 million youngsters reported vaping at least once in the previous 30 days.

On a local level, the Health Kids Colorado Survey conducted in 2017 found that 36 percent of teens in Boulder County currently use e-cigarettes. This is the second highest usage rate in the state and is significantly higher than the state average of 27 percent.

“I think it’s important for parents to communicate openly, without judgement, and to discuss vaping and other substance use without lecturing their teens,” says Lori Smith, MD, pediatrician at Centura Health Physician Group Pediatrics in Firestone. “The three topics I would stress when talking with your teen are the effects of nicotine and its addictiveness, the fact that vape pens are not safe (a common misconception), and the cost.”

Vape pens, which have become popular with teens in recent years, are not safe and, in addition to the adverse effects of nicotine, pens contain dangerous chemicals that are considered poisons and/or cause cancer. A rare but devastating outcome from vaping is trauma from battery explosions, which can cause severe burns, tissue damage, dental damage and scarring.

As with cigarettes, vape pens and e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is considered harmful to the body. When nicotine enters the blood stream it immediately causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, which stresses the heart and can lead to permanent cardiovascular damage which can lead to a variety of cardiovascular diseases such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), coronary heart disease and stroke. Nicotine also impairs the body’s immune system making infections more likely.

Longmont United Hospital encourages parents to start this important conversation with their teens early and talk with their child’s primary care physician or pediatrician about fostering healthy lifestyles for kids.

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About Longmont United Hospital
Longmont United Hospital, part of Centura Health, is a non-profit community hospital with specialty areas in Women’s & Children's Services, Heart and Vascular, Orthopedics and Spine, Neurosciences, Comprehensive Surgical Services, Cancer Care, Trauma Services, Primary Care, and Acute Medical Services. It offers quality in-patient and out-patient healthcare services including Physician Services and a 24-hour Emergency Department. The Emergency Department is a Level III Trauma Center, as designated by the state of Colorado. Visit Longmont United Hospital website.

Media Contact
Kirsten Pfotenhauer
Communications Manager, Longmont United Hospital
Phone: 303-678-4036
kirstenpfotenhauer@centura.org

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