What Parents Need to Know

What are E-Cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine, flavorings and other ingredients to the user. Using e-cigarettes is sometimes called “vaping.” E-cigarettes do not create harmless “water vapor” – they create an aerosol that can contain harmful chemicals.

What are the Risks for Teens?

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can: 

•Harm brain development, which continues until about age 25. 
•Impact learning, memory and attention. 

•Increase risk for future addiction to other drugs. 

Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to go on to use regular cigarettes. 

Many e-cigarettes come in kid-friendly flavors – including fruit, mint and vanilla – which make e-cigarettes more appealing to young people. 

E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. It can contain harmful substances, including: 

•Cancer-causing chemicals 
•Volatile organic compounds 
•Ultrafine particles 
•Flavorings that have been linked to lung disease 

•Heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead

What Do E-Cigarettes Look Like?


•E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Some look like regular cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Larger e-cigarettes such as tank systems – or “mods” – do not look like other tobacco products. 

•Some e-cigarettes look like other items commonly used by youth, such as pens and other everyday items. New e-cigarettes shaped like USB flash drives are popular among youth, including Juul and the PAX Era, which looks like Juul and delivers marijuana. 


What Can You Do as a Parent or Caregiver?


As a parent or caregiver, you have an important role in protecting children from e-cigarettes. 

•Talk to your child or teen about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them. It’s never too late. 

•Set a good example by living tobacco-free.

•If you’re not sure where to begin, ask your health care provider to talk to your child about the risks of e-cigarettes.


Source: Adapted from Cdc.gov.