Maybe your teen’s friends have started vaping. Perhaps you suspect your son or daughter is already using e-cigarettes. Here’s what you need to know about e-cigarettes and teenagers.

What is an e-cigarette?

It’s a battery-powered device with a replaceable cartridge containing a liquid mix of nicotine, flavorings (like mint or strawberry), and other chemicals. Typically, an atomizer in the unit heats the liquid mixture until it becomes a vapor that can be inhaled (that’s why using these products is sometimes referred to as “vaping”).  The vapor, which is comprised of a water-based glycerin, is light and doesn’t have the heavy, ashy quality of tobacco smoke.

Is vaping safer than smoking?

Researchers are still working to understand exactly how e-cigarettes might potentially impact health. However, the products contain nicotine, which is an addictive drug, and some testing suggests they may also contain toxic chemicals, including carcinogens. While the health community continues to assess the safety of e-cigarettes, it’s important for parents and caregivers to understand that there is concern about teens’ use of these products. E-cigarette use may act as a gateway drug that nudges adolescents into trying heavier nicotine products, like cigarettes. What’s more, researchers don’t yet fully understand the chemicals in e-cigarettes or their impact on the still-developing adolescent brain. Learn more in the infographic below from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. If you need tips or guidance on helping your teen make healthier decisions about smoking or other risky activities, visit the Compass Mark Lending Library. Teens and E-cigarettes: Statistics Teens and Vaping: Statistics Teens and E-cigarettes: Facts  

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