Dangers of “Dripping”

“Dripping” has taken the place of cigarettes for many teens, and health care professionals are becoming increasingly concerned about the dangers to young smokers.

Also known as direct dripping or dry smoking, dripping involves opening a battery-operated vaping device and dropping liquid, known as vape juice or e-liquid, directly on the heating coil. The thick clouds of vapor create a heightened sensation when the smoke hits the throat and lungs. More liquid is added every few puffs.

Teens and Vaping

Some vaping proponents claim the fears are exaggerated and that dripping is limited to small number of adventurous young people who are more prone to extreme behavior. However, vaping has becoming a trend among teens in countries around the world.

In the United States, vaping is now the most common form of tobacco use among high school students, surpassing cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars and hookahs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Center for Disease Control (CDC), estimate that approximately 13 percent of middle school students and 38 percent of high school students have tried vaping or e-cigarettes. A 2015 study involving Connecticut high school students indicated that 26 percent of kids who vape have tried dripping at least once.

Dangers of Dripping

Some users think vaping is safer than cigarettes because no tobacco is involved, and it’s true that certain dangers are avoided by switching from cigarettes to vaping devices. The problem is that nicotine content isn’t always considered. Although some e-liquids are nicotine-free, others are formulated to satisfy a smoker with a 40- to 60-cigarette-a-day habit. Even products with fun flavors like mango or bubblegum may contain a dangerous amount of nicotine.

Health care professionals are concerned that extreme heat created by dripping may generate harmful particles that are inhaled into the lungs. Some of those compounds, such as formaldehyde, acetone and acetaldehyde, have proven to be carcinogenic. Young users may also experience lung irritation, bronchitis, wheezing.

Dripping may also contribute to gum disease, tooth loss, and bloody sores in the throat and mouth that tend to be slow to heal. Dripping also leads to an increased danger of severe burns.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

When nicotine is involved, addiction and nicotine withdrawal are always possibilities. However, experts aren’t yet sure sure if vaping leads to an increased risk of alcoholism or drug addiction in teenagers.

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