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e-Cigarettes and Vaping Education

What are E-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes come in many shapes, sizes and names.

Some common E-cigarette names are vapes, vape pens, JUUL’s, e-cigs and more. E-cigarettes work by heating up a liquid that contains nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals. E-cigarettes can look like regular cigarettes or pipes, or like USB sticks and pens.

Why are E-cigarettes harmful?

E-cigarette use is on the rise among our youth. In fact, according to the FDA 3.62 million middle and high school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2018.1 E-cigarette use, from 2017 to 2018, increased 78 percent among high school students (11.7% to 20.8%) and 48 percent among middle school students (3.3% to 4.9%) from 2017 to 2018.1 This rise may be due to the fact that many people, especially youth, do not see any harm in using e-cigarettes and believe them to be safe.1

However, e-cigarettes contain many harmful substances such as:

  • Nicotine
  • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Cancer-causing chemicals
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead1

Along with the false belief that e-cigarettes are harmless is the problem of the hundreds of different flavors that appeal to youth. According to a 2013-2014 survey, 81 percent of current youth e-cigarette users cited the availability of appealing flavors as the primary reason for use.2

The fact is that our youth are using e-cigarettes at an alarming rate and e-cigarettes contain addictive, harmful substances that put them at risk for addiction and other health consequences. In fact, some e-cigarettes can contain as much nicotine as 20 packs of cigarettes.3

What can you do?

Become knowledgeable about e-cigarettes. Know what they look like and be aware of the addictive and harmful substances in them.

Have a discussion with your child about e-cigarettes and ask them if they know what substances they contain, that they are highly addictive and often lead to smoking cigarettes.

Be patient and willing to listen. Use the Know The Risks - Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes tip sheet for Parents.

Let’s come together as a community to protect our youth and get educated on these devices!

  3. Wang TW, Gentzke A, Sharapova S, Cullen KA, Ambrose BK, Jamal A.Tobacco Product Use Among Middle and High School Students – United States, 2011-2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67:629–33.
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