When people vape, they use a battery-powered device that heats up a liquid called e-liquid. The e-liquid contains nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals that create an aerosol mist you can inhale. It looks like water vapor but includes dangerous ultra-fine particles that enter the lungs and deliver nicotine and these other chemicals into your bloodstream.
E-liquid is usually made with propylene glycol or glycerin, and it may also contain chemicals such as formaldehyde, acrolein, acetaldehyde, diacetyl and cancer-causing volatile organic compounds. They can also contain heavy metals such as nickel, tin, lead and chromium. The e-liquid can also be mixed with flavored oils, such as peppermint and spearmint. The oil is often dissolved in glycerin to create a more flavorful vaping experience.
One small e-liquid pod delivers as much nicotine as 20 regular cigarettes. Nicotine is highly addictive and leads to increased cravings for more. It’s no wonder that teens who try vaping are more likely to start smoking regular cigarettes.
Vaping is popular among teens because it’s socially acceptable, leaves little odor and comes in cool flavors that can include mango, cucumber or creme. It’s promoted by celebrities and pop culture, and it can be easy to get hooked on. Plus, vaping is less expensive than smoking and allows you to conceal your behavior from adults.
If your teen is vaping, it’s important to understand what the risks are and talk about it with them. You might want to start by asking if they’ve ever tried it, or how many of their friends do. Then discuss how it can negatively impact their health, especially if they continue to use it.
You can also share this fact sheet on how nicotine and vapor products are harmful to your child’s health.
The FDA is working to protect children from the harms of vapor products by limiting advertising and requiring age verification. They are also pushing to regulate and even ban certain types of vapes. These efforts will help prevent kids from getting hooked and can even save lives.
We know that vaping can cause many problems, including serious addiction to nicotine, breathing issues, skin irritation, eye and throat damage, lung disease and even heart attack. But we still have more to do to help children and teens live vape-free lives. You can support our efforts by signing up for the Truth Initiative, which provides free tools to educate middle and high school students about the dangers of vapor products. These resources include lesson plans, activity sheets, videos and more.