You probably already know that vaping among teenagers has been deemed an epidemic by the U.S. Surgeon General. Knowing the risks of tobacco use - and the different types of products kids are using - will help you when you talk to your teen about vaping. 

E-cigarettes (or vapes) are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, and nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Talking to your kids about these risks - and setting firm expectations that they do not use any type of tobacco product including e-cigarettes and vapes - is important. 

The Facts About Teens & Vaping

  • 1 out of 4 high schoolers vape

  • 1 out of 10 middle schoolers vape

If you think these numbers from Your Life Iowa about teens and vaping are upsetting, you’re right to be concerned. Especially when you know how addictive vaping can be because of the high nicotine content. 

Help Talking to Teens & Young Adults

E-cigarettes (e-cigs), vapes, vape or hookah pens, e-pipes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), electronic smoking devices and other vaping products are battery-powered devices that allow users to inhale, or vape, aerosolized liquid (e-juice). E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine - the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products - flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs and bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air. E-cigarettes may also be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs. Watch a video about the health risks of nicotine for youth.

Nicotine & the Adolescent Brain

E-cigarettes and vaping are not safe for youth. Nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm the developing adolescent brain. Because the brain is still developing until about age 25, youth and young adult exposure to nicotine can lead to addiction and disrupt attention and learning. No amount of nicotine is safe for youth.

Almost one in four Iowa 11th grade students have used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days according to the 2018 Iowa HHS Iowa Youth Survey. Recent evidence suggests that, compared to youth who have never used them, youth who have tried e-cigarettes are much more likely to start smoking in the future.

Examples of Vaping Pens Tanks and E-Cigarettes

Types of Vapes

  • E-cigarettes (e-cigs)

  • Hookahs

  • E-pipes

  • Electronic smoking devices (vapes)

Kids can be influenced to believe that they’re only vaping flavored water, when in reality almost all vaping e-liquid contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals like lead, diacetyl and more. That’s why it’s so important to have an honest conversation with your kids.

E-cigarettes attract kids despite the dangers.

  • E-cigarettes are available in fruit and candy flavors.

    • Flavored tobacco products appeal to youth.

  • A majority of Iowa high school students have seen ads for e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

  • E-cigarettes are available to buy online.

E-cigarette aerosol contains harmful chemicals.

Similar to secondhand smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products, aerosol from e-cigarettes (often called vapor) contains harmful and potentially harmful constituents, such as ultrafine particles, heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead, and other cancer-causing chemicals.

Exposure may increase risk of breathing problems.

Exposure to e-cigarette aerosol may be a trigger for both kids and adults with breathing problems, such as asthma, increasing their risk of severe asthma attacks.