Vaping & Kids
Some E-Cigarettes Look Like Regular Cigarettes, Cigars, or Pipes. Some Look Like USB Flash Drives, Pens, and Other Everyday Items.
Since 2014, e-cigarettes have been the most commonly used tobacco product pdf icon[PDF–808 KB] among US middle and high school students. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, the number of youth who used e-cigarettes went up by 1.5 million. In fact, the US Surgeon Generalexternal icon has called e-cigarette use by youth an “epidemic,” and warned that it threatens decades of progress toward making sure fewer young people use tobacco.
Nicotine Can Harm Developing Brains
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the highly addictive drug in tobacco. Nicotine is especially harmful to young people. The human brain keeps developing until around the age of 25. Using products with nicotine under age 25 can harm the part of the brain responsible for memory, attention, and learning.
Many young people who use e-cigarettes also smoke regular cigarettes. There is evidence that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke regular cigarettes in the future. Also, even though the liquid that e-cigarettes heat to form an aerosol (vapor) has fewer harmful ingredients than cigarette smoke, it still contains harmful ingredients—including heavy metals and even cancer-causing chemicals—that can be breathed deep into the lungs. The part of the e-cigarette that heats up may also explode or cause serious burns.
Be Aware of "Hidden" E-Cigarettes
If you work with young people, you may have seen an e-cigarette device without even knowing it. The most often sold e-cigarette in the United States is a brand called JUUL, which looks like a USB flash drive. JUUL “pods,” which contain liquid heated by the device, have as much nicotine as a pack of 20 cigarettes. They also come in flavors, which can make them more appealing to young people. E-cigarettes can also look like other everyday items, such as highlighters, credit cards, remote controls, and pens.