How did vaping become an issue for junior hockey players? These young men are risking the hopes and dreams of hockey success for an instant of coolness. Junior players have a history of vices that have had catastrophic impacts on careers.
Over the years it’s been smoking, dipping, cannabis, alcohol, and even puck bunnies; anything to help take the edge off an intensive hockey schedule. The sad part is there are way too many ex-hockey players that had their careers cut short with such stupidity.
Players are not the only dummies that have developed a weakness for vaping. It appears that there are many coaches falling into the same hole.
Here’s the facts folks. These e-cigarettes contain pods with a variety of synthetic flavors and a mixture of other chemicals. While these products do not use tobacco, many e-cigarette cartridges contain approximately the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. There is far less research available on the health effects of vaping than there is on the effects of cigarettes, but some studies have found that e-cigarette pods can cause lung and cardiac disease as well as harm to the developing brains of athletes. The heart is an organ that seems to be particularly impacted by vaping.
The heart. You know, that important organ that keeps every young player alive. But hey, that is not the only organ being destroyed.
All of the potential health risks associated with e-cigarette use can significantly impair a player’s ability to perform, and coaches and parents are witnessing this across the country first-hand. Nicotine-addicted players have been becoming tired faster during practice and games due to the effects that vaping has on the lungs.
Data collected in May shows that teenagers and young adults who vape face a much higher risk of COVID-19 than their peers who do not vape, Stanford University School of Medicine researchers found.
The study, which was published online Aug. 11 in the Journal of Adolescent Health, is the first to examine connections between youth vaping and COVID-19 using U.S. population-based data collected during the pandemic.
Among young people who were tested for the virus that causes COVID-19, the research found that those who vaped were five to seven times more likely to be infected than those who did not use e-cigarettes.
“Teens and young adults need to know that if you use e-cigarettes, you are likely at immediate risk of COVID-19 because you are damaging your lungs,” said the study’s senior author, Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, professor of pediatrics.
Snap, maybe that is why so many junior teams are being impacted by COVID-19.
What is the solution? Zero tolerance is the ONLY solution. As 2020 nears the end, it will take everyone’s cooperation to close this hockey season with any sense of normalcy. Unlike seasons of the past, there are plenty of players readily available to replace those that cannot stop vaping, dipping, or smoking. If substances are more important than development, step aside and make way for another player that obviously wants the opportunity more than you do.
Maybe it’s time that we all start to look at vaping as less of a behavior problem and more as an addiction problem. Junior leagues should all be exploring the option of offering cessation programs for players and coaches. These young men need to understand the manipulative marketing and health dangers of vaping before it’s too late.