Teens: Learning About Vaping
What is vaping?
Vaping is using a battery-powered device to inhale liquid nicotine or other chemicals. These devices are called vapes, e-cigarettes, or vape pens. They can look like everyday items such as pens or USB flash drives. They use liquids that come in different nicotine strengths and flavours. Some use THC (a chemical in cannabis [marijuana]). THC changes how you think, act, and feel and can make you feel "high".
What are the safety concerns?
More research is needed before experts can tell if vaping is safe. The long-term health effects aren't known. Here's what experts are learning about vaping.
- It's not harmless water vapour.
- The "vapour" made by vaping isn't a vapour at all. It's an aerosol cloud made of chemicals suspended in a gas. This vape aerosol contains chemicals known to be harmful.
- It likely has nicotine.
- Nicotine is addictive. It's harmful to developing brains, such as in unborn babies, children, and young adults up to age 25. Liquid nicotine can be lethal if swallowed. Keep it out of children's reach.
- It may cause a deadly lung disease.
- There have been outbreaks of lung disease and death related to vaping. Some sources call it vaping-related lung injury. Many of these may be from vaping products with THC. But the exact cause isn't known.
You may have started vaping because you thought it was safer than smoking cigarettes. But vaping has its own problems. There are lots of reasons to stop.
- Nicotine in vapes is more addictive than you may believe. You may think you can stop whenever you choose. But because your body is used to the nicotine, it can be hard to stop.
- Vaping may change the way your brain works. It may also make it hard to breathe. These effects may last a long time.
- Vaping products have harmful chemicals. Experts don't know how these might change your health. Vaping may cause a deadly lung disease.
- Vaping costs a lot. And the more you vape, the more it costs.
How can you say no?
If someone offers you a vape, you don't have to take it. And if you've tried vaping, you don't have to keep doing it. Here are some ways you can say no.
- Look the person in the eye and say "No thanks."
Sometimes that's all you need to do. Say it as many times as you need to. Also ask the person not to ask you again: "I'm cool with my decision, so don't bother me again."
- Say why you don't want to vape.
Here are some examples: "If my parents find out, they'll take my car away," or "I have to practice with my band tomorrow and don't want to be short of breath."
- Walk out.
It's okay to leave a party or group where vapes are being used.
- Offer another idea.
"I'd rather play video games" or "Let's listen to some music." By doing this, you might also prevent your friend from vaping.
- Ask for respect.
Make it clear that you don't want to vape and that continuing to ask you is showing no respect for your opinions. "I don't give you a hard time, so why are you giving me a hard time?"
- Think ahead.
If you think you might go someplace where people are vaping, don't go. But if you do go, think in advance about what you will do if someone offers you a vape.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter V004 in the search box to learn more about "Teens: Learning About Vaping".
Adaptation Date: 8/3/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services