More than 15,500 e-cigarette flavors are on the market today. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 81% of youth aged 12-17 used a flavored product the first time they tried the vaping, 85.3% used a flavored e-cigarette in the past month, and 81.5% of youth currently using e-cigarettes said they use the products because “they come in flavors I like.” Is it any wonder than that between 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use increased by 78% for high schoolers and 48% for middle schoolers? The vaping industry pushes the fact that their products only contain four ingredients – propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, flavorings and nicotine – not the 7,000 chemicals found in cigarette smoke. But these four ingredients can quickly kill your smile.
The major ingredient in e-cigarettes is propylene glycol (PG), a thick, sticky, slightly sweet and colorless liquid. It is used in the production of polymers and also used by our food industry in products such as ice cream and whipped dairy products. This ingredient breaks down into “acetic acid, lactic acid, and propionaldehyde which are all toxic to tooth enamel and soft tissue.” That dry mouth after a vaping session is due to the propylene glycol, and can lead to more cavities, an increase in gum disease, as well as other oral health problems.
Then there is the vegetable glycerin (VG) which is an odorless, colorless, thick and sticky sweet liquid used in food products as well as the medical and pharmaceutical fields. Although it is “60% as sweet as sucrose”, it is not thought to cause cavities. But mix VG with flavorings and things change. This mixture of VG and flavorings decrease enamel hardness and the “e-liquid allows more cavity-causing bacteria to stick to a softer tooth, leading to spreading decay.
And let’s not forget nicotine used in most e-cigarette liquids. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor and affects blood flow to tissues and gums and decreases connective tissue turnover. It also affects immune cell function. You have a much higher chance of developing gum disease and having tooth loss by vaping.
The vaping industry is not going to publicly announce this information and the only way our youth will learn is if they are taught. The Florida Tobacco Prevention Training for Educators online course provides teachers, administrators and school counselors with the information they need to teach tobacco prevention lessons to their students in grades K-12. In exchange for teaching six (6) lessons at the end of the course, participants will receive 30- or 60-professional development credits toward renewing their teaching certificate. Any current FLDOE certificate holder in public, private or charter schools can take this course at no cost to them, their school or their district. The course now has an entire chapter devoted to e-cigarettes. In addition, a 10-point course devoted to e-cigarettes is available to Palm Beach teachers this year and will go state-wide next year. A 20-CEU course is also available to Florida School Nurses with no teaching required.
Our students deserve to know the vaping industry isn’t telling them the truth about their “safer” and “less harmful” products. It is up to us to give them the knowledge so they can make informed decisions about their health.
Click HERE for the entire article “Vaping and oral health: It’s worse than you think.”
The image above is Figure 1 from the article.