What is Huffing?

Huffing is a very dangerous trend among today’s teenagers. The process of huffing involves deliberately inhaling chemical vapors for the purpose of getting high, and, as a parent, it is extremely important that you prevent your teen from engaging in this unhealthy habit. Although perhaps not as popular as some other drugs, such as marijuana or alcohol, huffing is still an all too common practice. Below you will find the top basic facts about huffing:

It’s very popular among teens.

Teenagers are the number one group responsible for huffing, according to the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. The primary segment of the population that admitted to having huffed a substance to get high was comprised of those teenagers age 12 to 17. Among teens in high school, inhalants are estimated to be the fourth most popular drug, behind only alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. The number of 12-17 year olds who huff is nearly twice the number of 18-25 year olds who use inhalants, and it is estimated that by eighth grade, approximately 1 in 5 children will have tried huffing at least once.

It provides easy access to a high.

Certainly one of the reasons that huffing is so popular among teenagers is the fact that it provides very easy access to a high. For teens, the simple fact is that in the majority of cases, the easier a drug is to get, the more popular it is among young people. And inhalants are certainly easy to access. The process itself requires no special tools (unlike smoking marijuana, for example, or injecting heroin), and chemical vapors that provide a high through huffing can be found in over 1,000 household products. Examples of common household items that can provide a high through huffing include:

  • Paint thinner
  • Permanent markers
  • Nail polish/ nail polish remover
  • Gasoline
  • Super glue
  • Aerosol hair spray
  • Spray paint
  • Canned air/ duster (for cleaning electronics)
  • Nitrous oxide (often found in whipped cream dispensers)

The effects of these substances vary, but in general, huffing tends to provide a feeling of dizziness, relaxation, or euphoria.

It is extremely dangerous.

Huffing is not something to be taken lightly, and the habit can have some very serious side effects on teenagers. Like most drugs, inhalants can damage your teen’s heart, liver, and kidneys, but huffing also has the ability to cause a unique amount of damage to your child’s brain. This brain damage can result in memory loss, diminished speech capabilities, and the loss of other brain functions. Finally, huffing can also result in sudden death, both in first time and experienced users of inhalants.

If you suspect that your teen could be abusing inhalants, it is very important that you intervene. This practice can have a severe negative effect on your child’s health, and professional help is often a necessity. Allowing your teen to continue to huff could be endangering their brain health or even their very life.

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