E-cigarettes are hooking a new generation on nicotine and threatening decades of progress in reducing youth tobacco use. Studies show young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to become smokers — including many who would not have otherwise smoked cigarettes.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about e-cigarettes, Juuling and vaping. Here’s what you need to know about these harmful products.
• E-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth since 2014. In 2021, over 2 million middle and high schoolers were current e-cig users.
• E-cigarettes have driven a massive surge in youth nicotine addiction. In 2021, 44% of high school e-cigarette users vaped most days or daily — a strong sign of addiction.
• E-cigarette manufacturers have lured kids with thousands of kid-friendly flavors. In 2021, 85% of youth e-cigarette users used flavored products. The most popular flavors were fruit, candy/desserts/other sweets, mint and menthol.
• E-cigarettes can pack massive doses of highly addictive nicotine. One Juul pod contains as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes. Youth exposure to nicotine causes addiction and can harm developing brains,
impacting attention, memory and learning.
• E-cigarettes pose serious risks to young people’s health. E-cigarettes aerosol can deliver nicotine, toxic chemicals, volatile compounds, heavy metals and ultrafine particles that can reach deep into the lungs.
• E-cigarettes are sold in shapes and sizes that make it easy for kids to hide them. They can look like flash drives, pens, highlighters and other everyday items, so they blend in with school supplies.
• E-cigarette companies exploit loopholes in tobacco advertising regulations to target young people on social media and other digital platforms. E-cigarette companies and influencers market their products extensively and maintain a strong presence across social media sites.
• The tobacco industry has followed the cigarette marketing playbook in marketing e-cigarettes to kids.
E-cigarettes have been marketed to youth through celebrity/influencer endorsements, social media, TV and magazine ads, and sports and music sponsorships.
• Big Tobacco is behind some of the largest e-cigarette brands most popular with kids. Altria (maker of Marlboro) bought a 35% stake in Juul and Reynolds American (maker of Newport and Camel) owns Vuse.
Now that you know more about vaping, here are some tips for talking to kids about it.
1. Talk about the impact of vaping on their developing brains.
2. Start early - don't wait until your kid(s) are in high school.
3. Create a smoke-free home. Don't let anyone smoke inside even if there are smokers in the family.
4. Go over strategies and practice with your kids what they would say if someone offered them an e-cigarette.
5. Listen first. If you catch your kids vaping, first try to understand why they tried it and start the conversation from there.
How to talk to your kids about vaping - American Lung Association PDF
Talk with your teen about e-cigarettes - Surgeon General PDF