Underage Drinking & Alcohol Use
- A person who starts drinking at the legal age of 21 has only a 7 percent chance of becoming addicted.
- Children who begin drinking at age 13 have a 45 percent chance of becoming alcohol dependent.
- Today some youth are now taking their first drink as young as age 8; that is the third grade.
Approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die each year in this nation as a result of underage drinking, which includes motor vehicle crashes, alcohol poisoning, and unintentional injuries according to Jill Spineti, President and CEO of the Governors Prevention Partnership.
Parents who are actively involved in their kids lives and set clear rules and expectations on no alcohol use have a powerful influence on their childrens decision to remain alcohol-free. What parents may not realize is that children say parental disapproval of underage drinking is the key reason they have chosen not to drink, stated Charles Curie, former Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) administrator, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.￼
Alcohol affects a teenagers developing brain differently than an adults. Alcohol can damage kids brains and increase the risk of addiction. Memory, learning and impulse control can be seriously impaired leading to early addiction. One example is an adolescent brain is not fully formed. It has not yet developed the shut-off switch that adults have developed which makes a person get sleepy or pass out from too much alcohol—and thus stop drinking. As a result, most teens can drink dangerous amounts of alcohol before passing out — in most cases much more than an adult. It is important to know that the lethal dose of alcohol (that can cause death) is just a tiny bit more than the passing-out dose. This is called alcohol poisoning.
Underage Smoking and Nicotine Use
E-Cigarettes and Vaping
Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, are a form of nicotine inhaler. The majority of e-cigarettes on the market appear very similar to other tobacco products such as cigarettes or cigars. All e-cigarettes, however, contain a disposable cartridge with a nicotine solution that can either be replaced when the solution is exhausted or can be refilled by the user, depending on the device. E-cigarettes use heat to transform nicotine solution into vapors. The nicotine itself is processed and purified from tobacco leaves and is suspended in a solution, usually of glycerine or propylene glycol. The solution is vaporized with each puff on the e-cigarette. The inhaled nicotine enters the bloodstream via the respiratory tract.
An important question for pediatricians is whether nonsmoking teenagers will be attracted by the novelty or the perceived safety of e-cigarettes, take up the habit, and become addicted to nicotine. Candy-like flavors may be particularly appealing to children and adolescents. Because e-cigarettes are sold online, young people may have easy access for purchase, as most suppliers do not confirm the age of Internet customers.
- Facts For Parents About E-Cigarettes & Vaping (pdf)
- Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes: A Tip Sheet for Parents (pdf)
- Vaping: Dangerous, Available & Addicting (pdf)
- Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (pdf)
- E-cigarettes in Idaho Overview (pdfs)
- Vaping may be gateway to teen smoking (website)
- Young adult e-cigarette users less likely to stop smoking cigarettes (website)
- Facts About E-Cigarettes & Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (website)
- Vaping Safe? (e-Cigarette) Rack Card and Poster Kits (website)
- New AAP Policy Statements on Tobacco and E-cigarettes (website)
The AAP Section on Tobacco Control is proud to announce the release of three new tobacco control policy statements and one technical report.
- Liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes can kill children (website)
A 1-year-old child died from liquid nicotine poisoning in December — the first such death in the United States. The number of calls to poison control centers about liquid nicotine shot up significantly in 2014. There were 3,638 calls about exposures as of Nov. 30, more than double the 1,543 in 2013.
- Liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes poses serious risk (The New York Times)
Liquid nicotine for electronic cigarettes, also called e-liquid, is not regulated by federal authorities and can carry serious risks that are potentially lethal, particularly for children, toxicology experts say. Reports of accidental poisonings, many among children, increased 300% from 2012 to 2013 and are on track to double this year, according to the National Poison Data System.
Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Adolescent Resources (website)
A treatment guide that highlights the clinicians' role in identifying and supporting treatment and recovery, an online module that provides videos on best practices for screening teens at risk for or struggling with drug abuse, and a step-by-step resource that helps identify and manage SUD in teens.