The number of youth who vape is rapidly rising in our province.
It’s time to talk to our kids about the dangers of vaping.
Facts about Vaping
Facts about Vaping
HEALTH RISKS & IMPACTS
Nickel, tin, aluminum, diacetyl – just a few of the chemicals your teen could be inhaling when vaping, some linked to serious lung disease. And don’t forget nicotine, the highly addictive substance found in most vaping products and all tobacco products. Young people are so susceptible to nicotine addiction, many kids who may never have started smoking are now addicted to nicotine because of vaping. The long-term effects of vaping are unknown – it’s just not worth the risk.
What is vaping?
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol (often called vapour) produced by an e-cigarette or similar battery-powered device.
What is an e-cigarette?
E-cigarettes are battery-powered vapourizers that simulate the action and sensation of smoking. They often look like pens or long cigarettes.
What are other names for e-cigarettes?
They are also known as e-cigs, vape pens, e-hookahs, e-pipes, tanks, mods, vapes, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), and more. Some people refer to vaping devices by their brand name, like JUUL, BO, or Blu.
What types of e-cigarettes are there? What do they look like?
E-cigarettes come in many different sizes, types and colours. Some e-cigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some resemble pens, small electronic devices such as USB sticks, and other everyday items. The products that are designed to resemble small electronic devices are often compact and allow for discreet carrying and use – at home, in school hallways and bathrooms, and even in classrooms. Learn More
What is an e-Cigarette? My kid says its simply flavored water, what’s so bad about it?
E-cigarettes contain pre-filled pods or e-liquids/e-juices the user adds to the device. E-liquids generally consist of propylene glycol, glycerin, water, nicotine, and flavourings. Many of these pods and e-liquids come in fruit and candy flavours that appeal to youth.
E-cigarettes produce an aerosol, commonly called vapour, which users inhale from the device and exhale. The aerosol can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:
- Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- Flavouring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
- Volatile organic compounds
- Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead
Are e-cigarettes tobacco products?
Most e-cigarettes contain and deliver nicotine through pre-filled pods or e-liquids the user adds to the device. While they do not contain the tobacco leaf, the nicotine in these products is derived from tobacco.
Are e-cigarettes safe?
According to Health Canada, it is not safe for youth to use any nicotine products, including cigarettes and vaping products. For non-smokers, vaping can increase exposure to some harmful substances that could negatively affect health. For people who smoke, vaping is less harmful than smoking. Completely replacing cigarette smoking with a vaping product will reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. All vaping products that wish to make a health claim are regulated under Health Canada’s Food and Drugs Act (FDA). To date, no electronic cigarettes have been granted FDA approval. There is more to learn about how vaping affects health. While the long-term impacts of vaping are unknown, there is enough evidence to justify efforts to prevent the use of vaping products by youth and non-smokers.
Nicotine and Addiction
E-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance. According to the Surgeon General, because the brain isn’t fully developed until the mid-20s, youth and young adults are uniquely at risk for long-term, long-lasting effects of exposing their developing brains to nicotine.
Can e-cigarettes be used to vape other substances?
Yes. E-cigarettes and other vaping devices can be used to vape other substances, such as marijuana. Open systems require the user to add the e-juice, which can be a substance other than nicotine. Closed systems (those that use pre-filled pods) can also be altered to vape substances other than nicotine.
Where are e-cigarettes sold and how are youth getting them?
E-cigarettes are sold in many places including convenience stores, corner stores, gas stations, vape shops, and online. Stores should ask for identification (ID) of anyone who appears to be under 25 and refuse a sale to anyone who does not present ID or who is under the legal sales age. Online retailers are required to ask for age verification.
How can I tell if my child is vaping?
Many types of e-cigarettes are made to resemble everyday items and can easily fit in a pocket or the palm of a hand. In addition, they come in fruit and candy-like flavours. For these reasons, it may be hard to tell if your child is vaping – you may not recognize a vaping device or an e-liquid scent. Here are subtle signs your child might be vaping:
Unexplained Sweet Scent – If you notice a sweet scent that is unexplainable, it might be a flavoured e-juice for a vaping device.
Unfamiliar Products – If you come across unusual looking items such as unusual pens or USB drives or an unfamiliar battery or battery charging device, they could be associated with vaping.
The best way to know is to educate yourself about the products and to talk with your kids.
Almost half of the youth in our province have tried vaping. They’re being targeted by the vaping industry, with high-tech devices and sweet flavours. As parents, we need to help our kids steer clear of the dangers of vaping. First, we must get the facts.
ACT has developed a presentation to help parents educate themselves and their kids on the risks and harms associated with youth vaping.
TARGETING OUR KIDS
The vaping industry says they’re just trying to help adults quit smoking, but why the candy flavours? Why the slick, high-tech gadgets? The vaping industry has their sights set on our kids – marketing their e-cigarettes to young people, so they get hooked on nicotine and become customers for life.
GET THE FACTS
It’s tough to help your kids avoid the dangers of vaping if you don’t even know what to look for. There is more than one kind of vape, and they all look different. Learn what’s what when it comes to vaping products, and how to spot the signs that your kid is vaping. Get the truth about the health effects of vaping, too. Apart from the link to serious lung problems, vaping can have a negative effect on yourchild’s developing brain, including memory loss, self-control, and mood. It can also increase their risk for other types of addiction.
TALK TO YOUR KIDS
We know it’s tough to talk to your kids sometimes, but you’re not alone. Get all the facts about vaping, and advice on how to talk to your kids in a way that will get through to them. The more you know, the better equipped you are to talk to your kid about vaping. Start the conversation before they become addicted to nicotine. Remember – your child’s biggest role model is you.
SET A POSITIVE EXAMPLE
If you’re a parent who smokes cigarettes or vapes, you may be more reluctant to talk to your kids about vaping. But, you know first-hand how difficult it is to kick nicotine addiction. Talk to your kids about the new look of nicotine addiction. Vaping poses many of the dangers of smoking – it just comes in a different package.
For help to quit smoking or vaping, go to www.smokershelp.net or call 1-800-363-5864 or visit https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/smoking-tobacco/vaping/smokers.html or call 1-866-366-3667.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR PARENTS:
Kids spend a lot of time at school, so educators can play a significant role in helping our kids understand the harms and risks of vaping, resist peer pressure, and make informed choices. If you’re a school administrator, get the facts about vaping so you can share them with students, staff and parents.
ACT, in partnership with the NL English School District, has developed vaping awareness resources for schools, to help raise awareness among junior and senior high school students about the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping, and help educators and parents as well. We have integrated components of the Consider the Consequences of Vaping campaign from Health Canada.
- Letter to Teachers(PDF download)
- FAQ About Vaping(PDF download)
- Comprehensive School Health Poster
- Presentation for 7-12 Students(PowerPoint presentation)
- Vaping Presentation Lesson Plan
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR SCHOOLS:
- Youth Vaping Prevention Materials for Your School *Contact ACT for more information
- NLESD Cannabis and Smoke Free Policy
Our youth vaping prevention campaign is one of many resources available today, as more and more groups aim to protect youth from the risks and harms associated with vaping. Check out some of the ways other organizations in Canada and the United States are addressing this important public health issue.
- Vaping among teens in Canada doubles in two years – May 2020
- Statement from the Council of Chief Medical Officers of Health on Nicotine Vaping in Canada
- CTADS 2018-2019
- Chief Medical Officers of Health statement
- Health Canada press release December 19
- Nova Scotia to become first province to ban sale of flavoured e-cigarettes and juices
- Health Canada warns of potential risk of pulmonary illness associated with vaping products
- Vaping among Newfoundland and Labrador teens an ‘epidemic,’ expert says
- It’s time to treat e-cigarettes like cigarettes
- How the vaping industry is targeting teens – and getting away with it
- E-Cigarettes match traditional smoking in some heart risks
For more information contact:
Acknowledgements – Thanks to Massachusetts Public Health for permission to adapt “The New Look of Nicotine Addiction” campaign materials