Tobacco and Vaping
Despite all the information out there, tobacco continues to be the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States. Heavy, chronic smokers are at increased risk for heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and stroke. Native Americans have a higher rate of smokers than any other racial or ethnic group, according to the 2018 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).
Tobacco companies target Native American youth
While these claims are denied by big tobacco corporations, there is evidence to support that they target youth and minorities in their marketing and advertising. Next time you are at a large event, check out the sponsors. You may find that large tobacco corporations are sponsors of powwows and rodeos.
Even though the tobacco companies deny targeting youth in their marketing and advertising, it is easy to see that they still use tactics to get kids addicted to tobacco so that they become lifelong customers. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0251.pdf
Vaping is harmless, right? How can something cotton-candy flavored be dangerous? Right? Wrong.
Vaping is not just water vapors gently floating into your lungs. Some of the aerosol mists that you pull into your lungs when vaping contain toxic chemicals like formaldehyde and heavy metals.
What is a vape pen? Vape pens use a battery to heat up the flavored vape liquid. The liquid comes in all different flavors, and some have levels of nicotine. While it may appear as though the liquid is simply water, it can contain many different chemicals.
Nicotine or not, vaping is dangerous
Not all vape pens or e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but that doesn’t mean they are any less harmful to your health. Some vape liquids claim to have no nicotine; however, they do actually contain small amounts of nicotine. Additionally, they commonly contain diacetyl, which has been proven to cause a serous lung disease called “popcorn lung.”
What is popcorn lung? Diacetyl, a chemical used to flavor foods like popcorn and dairy products, is perfectly safe when ingested through food. However, when inhaled, it can cause bronchiolitis obliterans, a serious lung disease. Consequently, many food manufacturers removed diacetyl from their foods so that their employees wouldn’t inhale it during production. E-cigarettes, however, are using this chemical in their liquids.
Popcorn lung is scarring of the tiny air sacs in your lungs, resulting in the thickening and narrowing of the airways, causing coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and other symptoms that are similar to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
When you’re ready to quit
Both cigarettes and vaping are incredibly addictive, which is why it can be so hard to quit. But it is a decision that you have to make for yourself. Here are some tips that may help you.
Make a plan
Figure out how you will fight your cravings and pick a goal date, with benchmark check-ins along the way to check your progress.
Lean on your support circle
Your support circle is there to support you, so use them! Tell them what your plan is and ask them to help you. They can check in on you, help you plan activities to keep your mind off of smoking and talk to you when the cravings may become difficult to avoid.
List the benefits
There are a lot of benefits that wait for you once you have quit. Make a list of all the things that you can look forward to, like having healthier lungs, clothes that don’t smell like smoke and a mouth that doesn’t taste like stale cigarettes.
Prepare craving busters
Cravings are going to pop up, so it’s important to have a list of craving busters to help get you through them. When a craving pops up, pick something from your list!
- Take a walk
- Go for a jog
- Do yoga
- Chew a piece of gum
- Call someone in your support circle