Understanding Youth Vaping
What is vaping?
“Vaping” is a term used to describe the act of using an electronic
nicotine delivery system (ENDS) to inhale vaporized aerosol products
called e-juice or e-liquid.
ENDS include a wide variety of products that look like look like cigarettes,
pens and thumb drives. Vapes are sold in vape shops, gas
stations, convenience stores and online in the form of e-cigarettes,
e-hookah pens, mods and tank systems.
How does it work?
A cartridge is filled with e-juice or e-liquid and placed into the
battery operated device. Pressing the button on the device heats the
e-liquid which forms an aerosol vapor. The aerosol is then inhaled.
Devices can also be modified to vape marijuana in the form of wax, juice
What is a Juul?
A Juul (pronounced jewel) is a popular ENDS product used among youth, that resembles
a USB flash drive. Each pre-filled prod contains as much nicotine as a
pack of cigarettes.
According to the product website and Truth Initiative
- Weakened immune system
- Damage to gums and mouth
- Respiratory problems, shortness of breath
- Second hand vapor exposure
- Nicotine addiction, higher risk for an adolescent brain
- High blood pressure, irregular heart beat
- Headaches, dizziness
- Agitation, insomnia
- By-products when heated can include ethylene glycol (anti-freeze);
benzen (car exhaust); and heavy metals such as tin, zinc and cancer
causing agents called carcinogens
What you can do
Have the conversation
Children begin experimenting with vaping, tobacco, alcohol and Marijuana
at young ages. It is important to start the conversation early and
continue through the teen years. Communicate your values and messages
clearly. Share your concern for their health and safety.
Have a clear message
Make sure your teen knows your expectations. Substance use is not a rite
of passage, and not all kids experiment with drugs and alcohol. Teens who
use substances have more problems with school, the law, their health and
forming healthy relationships. Let them know there are consequences to
substance use – both in terms of their health and for breaking your
Set a good example
Be a role model for healthy habits. If you use tobacco, it is never too
late to quit. If your teen is vaping, quit together by visiting
Use teachable moments and normalize the discussion
Have a discussion when you see or hear a vaping advertisement, when
there is a story about substance abuse in the news or while driving in
Recognize vape devices and products
Research information about e-cigarettes and vaping on the surgeon
general website. Know what these devices look like and understand how
they work. This is an ever-changing industry – understand what is
appealing and how vaping impacts current teens.
Parents often underestimate the seriousness of drug use. Seek out a
professional and ask for help. Reach out to a guidance counselor or call
a nearby counseling center to access prevention education and
intervention services for an evaluation. Your child’s future depends on
Did you know?
tobacco product among U.S. middle school and high school students for
the fourth year in a row in 2017.
Results from the National Youth Tobacco Use Survey, FDA, 2018.
E-cigarettes use and Juuling are NOT a safe alternative to other forms
Youth who smoke e-cigarettes are becoming conventional cigarette users
after initiating with e-cigarettes.
Michigan Tobacco Section; Electronic Cigarettes, August 2016
It’s against the law
The FDA regulates e-cigarettes which includes Juuls as “tobacco products.” Under FDA
Tobacco Control Act it is illegal to sell e-cigarettes to a minor under 21 years of age.
Michigan Tobacco Section; Electronic Cigarettes, January 2020
Use of vape devices for marijuana
Among those who reported vaping, nearly 1 in 3 high school students and
about 1 in 4 middle school students reported using cannabis in their
Journal of American Medical Association, 2018
Vaping marijuana – increased risk
THC levels found in marijuana concentrates/oil, which are used in vaping devices are 2-4 times higher
than plant use.
The higher the concentration of THC, the higher the likelihood of addiction and adverse medical consequences—
Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Marketing to youth
E-cigarette companies use celebrity endorsements, novelty products and
flavorings to attract youth.
Research shows flavorings play a key
role in youth using tobacco products like e-cigarettes
Half of youth who use vape products report they obtained them by
borrowing it from someone else. They can also purchase it for themselves over the internet.
Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth Survey / Oakland County, 2018
Talking to your kids
Conversations can be a powerful tool parents can use to connect with and
protect kids. When tackling a tough topic, such as vaping, figuring out
what to say can be challenging. Here are some sample conversations that
may be helpful.
Scenario: At least I am not smoking.
What to say: Vaping is dangerous.
Just like smoking, putting chemicals and nicotine into your body can
affect your health. I want you to make healthy choices and stay away
from all drugs and alcohol.
Scenario: your child tells you their friend offered them to vape on the us or in the bathroom.
What to say: I appreciate you telling me, I hope you and your friends will stay away from vapes and
Juuls. Vaping because you think it is cool, or trying it because
everyone else is doing it is really dangerous. You are exposing
yourself to nicotine which can hurt your body and be addictive. You
do not know if that vape device had vape juice or marijuana oil in it.
I just want you to be safe and healthy.
Scenario: Your child says, “it can’t be that bad because everyone is doing it.”
What to say: Science shows that nicotine is harmful for the body, especially teens.
We don’t know how bad vaping truly is because it has not been around long enough to
study long term effects. What experts do know is that toxic materials
are generated when you heat up the vape juice. Also, vapes with
defective batteries can catch on fire. Nicotine and marijuana use can
negatively impact your developing brain, making it harder to
concentrate and think clearly.
- Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Video narrated by youth, The Rise of Vaping
- The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids drugfree.org
- Oakland Community Health Network (248) 858-1210 oaklandchn.org
- Michigan Dept. of Health & Human Services Tobacco Prevention michigan.gov/tobacco
- Truth Initiative truthinitiative.org/quitecigarettes
- Common Ground Resource & Crisis Helpline
- The Real Facts, USDHHS Know The Real Cost of Vaping – US Department of Health and Human Services
- Talk Sooner: Helping Parents Prevent Youth Substance Abuse Talk Sooner – E-cigarettes
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – About Electronic Cigarettes
- E-Cigarettes – Get The Facts Known The Risks – Get The Facts (E-Cigarettes)
- How To Talk With Your Teen Drugfree.org – How To Talk With Your Teen