Most e-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive. Recently, e-cigarette use among youth was declared an epidemic by the U.S. Surgeon General.
Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Some e-cigarettes look like pens, USB sticks and other everyday items.
What’s the bottom line?
E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products:
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.
- Nicotine is toxic to developing fetuses.
- Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and their developing babies.
- Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to use other tobacco products, including cigarettes.
E-cigarette aerosol is NOT harmless “water vapor.” It can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine and ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead.
Parents and caregivers can influence a child’s or teen’s decision about whether to use e-cigarettes or other tobacco products.
- Set a good example by being tobacco-free. If you use tobacco and need free help quitting, visit smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Talk to your child or teen about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them.
- Set up an appointment with your child’s or teen’s health care provider so that they can talk to a medical professional about the health risks of e-cigarettes.
- Speak with your child’s or teen’s teacher and school administrator about enforcement of tobacco-free school grounds policies and tobacco prevention curriculum.
- Encourage your child or teen to learn the facts and get tips for quitting tobacco products by visiting the Surgeon Generals e-cigarette website.
Need help starting the conversation? Use the CDC’s tip sheet to talk to your child or teen about the potential health risks of e-cigarettes: