We Need to Talk About Vaping

Vaping has been getting a lot of press since last year’s outbreak of lung injuries related to e-cigarettes. But even before that, the Surgeon General called on health care providers and teachers to inform youth about the dangers of vaping. (1) Our new Dangers of Vaping poster is a great starting point for these important conversations. Display this poster wherever kids or parents will see it – in cafeterias, gyms, classrooms, exam rooms, waiting areas, and offices. We know you may not be familiar with vaping, so here’s some basic information about the topic and tips on where to find out more: Where to find accurate information:
  1. Start by watching this video from MD Anderson Cancer Center. It touches on pretty much everything you need to know about vaping and is easy to understand.
  2. Next, check out these two websites for facts, tip sheets, infographics, and other resources:
Vaping basics you need to know:
  1. Vapes (e-cigarettes) are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.
  2. Vaping refers to the use of e-cigarettes, which are electronic devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales through a mouthpiece.
    • E-cigarettes come in all shapes and sizes. They are also known as e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, e-hookahs, mods, and tank systems.
    • Click here for a comprehensive glossary, including pictures. You can also see what the devices look like in the video mentioned above.
    • Juul is a very popular brand of e-cigarettes. Juuls are shaped like USB drives, making them easy for kids to hide. They also come in flavors that appeal to youth.
  3. The vaping liquid typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. E-cigarette devices can also be used with marijuana and other substances.
    • Besides nicotine, the liquid may also contain other harmful ingredients, such as:
      • Flavorants (like diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease).
      • Volatile organic compounds (like benzene, which is found in car exhaust).
      • Heavy metals (like nickel, tin, and lead).
  4. Many parents and youth don’t realize that most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, even though the label may not say so.
    • Nicotine comes from tobacco and is highly addictive.
    • Nicotine affects brain development. Since the brain is still developing until about age 25, the use of any tobacco product is particularly dangerous for youth and young adults.
  5. Other potential dangers from vaping include:
    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
    • Lung damage.
    • Stomach upset.
    • Worsened asthma.
Free downloads we like:
  1. Surgeon General’s parent tip sheet.
  2. Surgeon General’s health care provider conversation card.
(1) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General—Executive Summary. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016. Accessed online February 2020.