Vaping is powerfully addictive

From the Denver Gazette, March 14, 2021

The Denver City Council will soon be considering an ordinance to end the sale of flavored tobacco in Denver. As a volunteer with Parents Against Vaping e-cigarettes, and — more importantly — as a mom, I fully support this ordinance that ends the sale of all flavored vaping products, menthol cigarettes and all flavored tobacco products in the city.

My story begins in September of 2017. My daughter was 15 and first tried vaping with some girlfriends at school. She said the flavors were the hook that got her: mango, crème brûlée, and French toast. They sound innocent but they are infused with up to 6% nicotine — a drug that is one of the five most addictive substances in the world. By December of 2017 she was vaping every day and stealing money from her family to buy nicotine juice and pods from her friends.

My daughter’s vaping had become a full-blown addiction — she was vaping at least one pod every two days, which is equal to about 20 cigarettes. She was physically addicted and could not stop, and became so skilled at hiding her vaping, she could do it while we were all in the same room or car and we never suspected a thing. As a parent, this is probably the most painful part of this entire nightmare. How could I have not known?

Parents do not realize how easily these products can be disguised; small discrete devices that look like pens or flash drives, often hidden in sleeves or bras or disguised as computer accessories.

My daughter said there was an organized network of students at her school, where the older kids would buy for the younger kids with an up-charge for the favor of buying pods. Once she was addicted, my daughter was so desperate to vape, she was willing to pay almost any price to get her nicotine fix.

By April of 2018, she was vaping two, sometimes three pods daily, which is equivalent to 40-60 cigarettes each day. She could not go for more than an hour without vaping. It was her first act in the morning and her last act before bed.

Parents — and our society overall — need to understand how prevalent and accessible vaping products are, and how powerfully addictive and dangerous nicotine is for our kids.

Nicotine can have long-lasting effects on brain development, impacting impulse control, ability to learn and concentration. It is time to end the sale of all flavored tobacco products!

Nicotine juice and flavored tobacco products are harmful and addictive, and these products are slowly destroying our children. We must protect our children and ban the sale of these harmful products.

Janine Browne-Franklin