Science News for Students: Health Risks Are Scaring Some Teen Vapers Into Considering Quitting

The challenge: Money and other resources are geared more to helping smokers, not vapers

Starting to vape is easy, but quitting a nicotine habit can be tough, teens are finding. Some vaping-cessation programs have begun to reach out to teens where they live — on their phones.


Article includes Power Words

addicted     Unable to control the use of a habit-forming drug or to forego an unhealthy habit (such as video game playing or phone texting). It results from an illness triggered by brain changes that occur after using some drugs or engaging in some extremely pleasurable activities. People with an addiction will feel a compelling need to engage in some behavior, such as using a drug (which can be alcohol, the nicotine in tobacco, a prescription drug or an illegal chemical such as cocaine or heroin) — even when the user knows that doing so risks severe health or legal consequences.

adolescent     Someone in that transitional stage of physical and psychological development that begins at the onset of puberty, typically between the ages of 11 and 13, and ends with adulthood.

average     (in science) A term for the arithmetic mean, which is the sum of a group of numbers that is then divided by the size of the group.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC     An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC is charged with protecting public health and safety by working to control and prevent disease, injury and disabilities. It does this by investigating disease outbreaks, tracking exposures by Americans to infections and toxic chemicals, and regularly surveying diet and other habits among a representative cross-section of all Americans.

daunting     A description for something that is intimidating and which seems hard to imagine in detail such that you can figure out how to cope with, master or achieve it.

e-cigarette     (short for electronic cigarette) Battery-powered device that disperses nicotine and other chemicals as tiny airborne particles that users can inhale. They were originally developed as a safer alternative to cigarettes that users could use as they tried to slowly break their addiction to the nicotine in tobacco products. These devices heat up a flavored liquid until it evaporates, producing vapors. People use these devices are known as vapers.

e-liquid     A term for the solutions heated to the evaporation point in an electronic cigarette. These solutions are the basis of the vapors that will be inhaled. The liquid typically contains a solvent into which flavorings and nicotine have been dissolved.

environment     The sum of all of the things that exist around some organism or the process and the condition those things create. Environment may refer to the weather and ecosystem in which some animal lives, or, perhaps, the temperature and humidity (or even the placement of things in the vicinity of an item of interest).

epidemic     A widespread outbreak of an infectious disease that sickens many people (or other organisms) in a community at the same time. The term also may be applied to non-infectious diseases or conditions that have spread in a similar way.

generation     A group of individuals (in any species) born at about the same time or that are regarded as a single group. Your parents belong to one generation of your family, for example, and your grandparents to another. Similarly, you and everyone within a few years of your age across the planet are referred to as belonging to a particular generation of humans. The term also is sometimes extended to year classes of other animals or to types of inanimate objects (such as electronics or automobiles).

high school     A designation for grades nine through 12 in the U.S. system of compulsory public education. High-school graduates may apply to colleges for further, advanced education.

marketing     The strategy for getting people to adopt a new policy or buy new products. In many cases, the marketing may rely on advertising or getting celebrities and other trendsetters to endorse a policy or product.

middle school     A designation for grades six through eight in the U.S. educational system. It comes immediately prior to high school. Some school systems break their age groups slightly different, including sixth grade as part of elementary school and then referring to grades seven and eight as “junior” high school.

minors     Children and adolescents below an age that would make them legally adults.

mucus     A slimy substance produced in the lungs, nose, digestive system and other parts of the body to protect against infection. Mucus is made mainly of water but also includes salt and proteins such as mucins. Some animals use mucus for other purposes, such as to move across the ground or to defend themselves against predators.

nicotine     A colorless, oily chemical produced in tobacco and certain other plants. It creates the “buzz” associated with smoking. Highly addictive, nicotine is the substance that makes it hard for smokers to give up their use of cigarettes. The chemical is also a poison, sometimes used as a pesticide to kill insects and even some invasive snakes or frogs.

peer     (noun) Someone who is an equal, based on age, education, status, training or some other features. (verb) To look into something, searching for details.

savvy     The quality of possessing useful and clever knowledge.

smoking     A term for the deliberate inhalation of tobacco smoke from burning cigarettes.

stimulant     Something that triggers an action. (in medicine) Drugs that can stimulate the brain, triggering a feeling of more energy and alertness. Caffeine, for instance, is a mild stimulant that for a short while enhances alertness and helps fight drowsiness. Other stimulants, including some dangerous illegal drugs — such as cocaine — have stronger or longer-lasting effects.

survey     To view, examine, measure or evaluate something, often land or broad aspects of a landscape. (with people) To ask questions that glean data on the opinions, practices (such as dining or sleeping habits), knowledge or skills of a broad range of people. Researchers select the number and types of people questioned in hopes that the answers these individuals give will be representative of others who are their age, belong to the same ethnic group or live in the same region. (n.) The list of questions that will be offered to glean those data.

tobacco     A plant cultivated for its leaves, which many people burn in cigars, cigarettes, and pipes. Tobacco leaves also are sometimes chewed. The main active drug in tobacco leaves is nicotine, a powerful stimulant (and poison).

vaping     (v. to vape) A slang term for the use of e-cigarettes because these devices emit vapor, not smoke. People who do this are referred to as vapers.

vaporize     To convert from a liquid to a gas (or vapor) through the application of heat.

Science Topics
Health & Medicine
K-6, Middle School
4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, 9th Grade

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