Vaping From A Parents and Providers Perspective
Vaping has become a major threat in the U.S. to teens and young adults. Politicians and health officials have in the past accused e-juice manufacturers and vaping companies of marketing to minors and children through their flavorings and low-risk assumptions of vapes. Around 1,300 lung injury cases related to vaping products have been reported to the CDC from 49 states. As of now, 28 deaths have been confirmed in 21 states and this number is expected to grow in the days ahead. To prevent children from falling prey to this deadly epidemic, parents and health care providers need to know a few things about the risks of vapes and e-cigarettes.
E-Cigarettes and Their Life-Impacting Costs
Vape use or using e-cigarettes can have a serious effect on the lifespan and overall health of an individual. Even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created a “Real Cost Campaign” to emphasize the potential dangers of the practice.
E-cigarette use involves the inhalation of boiling liquids that contain nicotine and other chemicals.
Due to the recent rise of vape use, and the spike in vaping-related illnesses and injuries, parents and health providers have been expressing concerns over the adoption of this fatal trend, especially among teens.
How Severe Are the Prevalence and the Burden of Vaping Among Youth?
Vape use among teens is significantly higher than tobacco use. The flavors and availability of e-cigarettes almost mirror the traditional, extinct marketing ploys used by the tobacco industry. According to TruthInitiative.org, as many as 11.7% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students have used e-cigarettes in the past few months. That’s sharply higher than the 1.5% and 0.6% respective statistics from 2011. The risk derives from the inability to really know what’s within the devices and e-juice.
Source – fda.gov
What Are the Signs of Vaping-Related Illness?
Vaping-related illness refers to the catch-all term used for those that fall ill with pulmonary problems following e-cigarette use. Initial reports of this condition began this year, notes The Washington Post, and it most commonly affected men with an average age of 19. The signs include vomiting, chest pain, shortness of breath and need for hospitalization. All patients experience some form of respiratory distress, including the need for placement on a ventilator. Furthermore, researchers have been unable to identify a common component beyond vape use, not even a single chemical, responsible for the outbreak.
Parents Play a Vital Role in E-Cigarette Use Prevention
Parents can intervene and reduce the prevalence of vaping among youth. They should talk to their kids about the ill-effects of vaping. Informing children that the vapor contains carcinogens that get attached to the lungs adversely affecting their brain and nerve functioning.
Some of the common causes of vaping include –
- Not perceived as a health risk when compared with traditional cigarettes.
- Attractive flavors and enticing packaging.
- Cost less and are easier to obtain.
What can parents do –
- Research and expand their own knowledge of vaping.
- Educate and explain the dangers of vaping because kids might be unaware of the greater health risk involved.
- Be open and invite kids to discuss and ask questions.
- Keep an eye and be aware of sudden mood swings and changes in their behavior.
- Provide psychological support and immediate medical help if the child is vaping.
Apart from parents, health care providers also have a crucial role to play in preventing and treating vaping related risks.
Why a High-Quality EHR Improves Vaping-Related Case Management
The problem with tracking the vape-related illness lies in its symptoms and lack of an official diagnosis. According to another Washington Post piece, vape-related illness has contributed to at least eight deaths, as well as 450 possible cases of illness. Unfortunately, the ability to track symptoms is not very streamlined. The actual problem may be much more prevalent than it appears. However, an advanced electronic health record (EHR) can look beyond the diagnostics and identify common data factors, such as symptoms and lifestyle choices.
It Provides Management of Symptoms
Through data sharing and protection of privacy, an EHR may also provide better management of symptoms for patients. Since the system relies on charting and data, providers can share opinions and treatments, reducing delays and increasing treatment outcomes.
Dedicated, Digital Systems Enable Continuity of Care
For those that have visited multiple providers with similar symptoms, dedicated systems also enable continuity of care. If a person does not report a symptom, integrated electronic records may flag the chart for a physician. As a result, a pulmonology diagnosis or referral can be made faster and reduce the risk of poor outcomes.
Integrated Platforms Empower Parents With Patient Education
Finally, integrated platforms provide yet another resource in managing vaping-related illnesses. Since parents may not know how to approach the topic of vaping or help youth with an addiction to vaping, an EHR can aggregate and print-on-demand resources for parents. This information can be accessed by internal medicine clinics, pediatrics’ care providers and other health practitioners Since addiction is a type of mental illness, it also makes sense to include an EHR in managing mental health problems and risky behaviors. In fact, such resources are essential to keeping youth from switching to smoking or tobacco use altogether—a common risk factor known to be associated with vape use says the CDC.
Prevent Vaping Among Today’s Youth With the Right Tools and Education
Vape use is the latest epidemic to strike youth. While vaporized “smoking” may have been billed as a safer alternative to traditional tobacco use, it’s effects can be devastating. Moreover, recent news reports highlight the horror stories of vaping and its potential impact on the lungs and health. No one is truly safe, not until the manufacturers and third-party studies find proof of vaping’s safety compared to smoking.
In the interim, parents, educators and health providers have a duty to educate everyone about the risks and why vape usage has not been proven to be a safer alternative. Know the facts, and if necessary, ensure continuity of care among those with vape-related illnesses with a dedicated, advanced EHR.
Learn more about how PrognocCIS as an EHR can help Physicians with vaping related issues. A customized template with standard screening and documentation will prompt clinicians to collect information about nicotine use and provide solutions for short and long term health goals and outcomes. To improve your patients’ care request a demo or call1-877-693-6748 today.