Today's Quote: "Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill." - Muhammad Ali
Today's Theme... What Student-Athletes Need to Know About Vaping - by Sarah Daren
America's youth is facing a new threat: vaping. Vaping, or "e-cigarettes" were originally marketed as a smoking cessation product. In the years since, however, we've learned the truth about vaping. Turns out, it's just as addictive as smoking cigarettes and could be even more harmful.
Vaping is growing in popularity among teens, and the Surgeon General has declared it as an epidemic. The health risks of vaping can be especially dangerous for student athletes.
- So why is vaping a cool new trend while cigarettes continue to fall out of favor among young people? Partially, it's because e-cigarettes seem pretty harmless when compared to cigarettes. They don't produce an unpleasant odor.
Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices have also been marketed to project a cool, laid-back image, and in a range of flavors.
Behind those flavors, however, e-cigarettes are just another nicotine delivery device. Nicotine is addictive and can have a major negative impact on the developing brains of young people, and can impact memory and attention. Many youths who start out vaping eventually smoke traditional cigarettes.
Early findings of studies on the safety of e-cigarettes are disturbing. Many devices contain carcinogens and heavy metals, which carry long-term health implications. The bottom line: vaping isn't safe for people of any age, but particularly for youth under 25.
- Nicotine takes a toll on the body and can prevent student athletes from maintaining the good physical condition they need to avoid injury and perform well. Injuries are fairly common among student athletes and vaping only adds to the injury risk, and can cause dangerous respiratory symptoms for athletes.
Nicotine can increase blood pressure and heart rate while narrowing the arteries. That's extremely dangerous in a situation where a student athlete is pushing themselves to the limit. Athletes who vape may find themselves wheezing, short of breath, having asthma attacks, or even suffering cardiovascular consequences.
- The decline in smoking has shown that it is possible to influence behavior, but it can take years for dangerous habits to fall out of favor among kids and teens. While some states are initiating legislation to make vaping devices harder to get, laws won't end the epidemic of teen vaping by themselves.
Parents, educators, and coaches all need to be part of the solution. Preventing vaping in the first place is the best solution. Educate kids about the dangers of e-cigarettes from an early age. Discuss the dangers before, not after, you notice signs of a problem.
Serve as good role models and be on the lookout for signs of vaping. Early detection could prevent a young person from becoming addicted to nicotine.
- One of the most challenging aspects of trying to prevent teen vaping is the fact that it's the new "cool" thing to do. Coaches and parents need to be prepared when talking to kids and teens about this dangerous trend.
Peer pressure can lead to more kids vaping than they would on their own. Give student athletes talking points they can use if they're feeling pressured to use e-cigarettes. Most athletes are very concerned about their athletic performance and may respond well to the facts of vaping: it compromises athletic performance and can be extremely dangerous on and off the field or court.
Vaping can be hard to detect, but it's crucial that every adult in a child's life remains on the lookout for signs of this dangerous habit. It's everyone's responsibility to keep our youth safe from the vaping epidemic.
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