Top Ten Things Parents Need to Know About E-Cigarettes

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E-cigs don’t all look like cigarettes

  • Not all e-cigs look like alike. Some look like pens, tubes, pipes, or squares.
  • Some have wild graphic patterns or plastic jewels and sequins decorating them.
  • E-cigs don’t smell like traditional cigarettes, so use can go unnoticed.

Teens don’t call them e-cigarettes

  • Ask your children if they are using e-cigs and they may say no.
  • Ask if they are using a disposable hookah, an e-hookah or a vape pen and you may be surprised at the answer.
  • Many teens don’t realize that they are all essentially the same as e-cigs.

They are marketed to teens

  • E-cig flavors include teen-friendly flavors such as peach fuzzy navel, in addition to tobacco and menthol flavors.
  • Some e-cigs connect to other electronic devices to play music and answer calls.
  • Magazine ads for e-cigs feature sex and rebellion to catch attention.
  • Social media and YouTube are cluttered with paid e-cig ads and testimonials.​

Students are using them in school

  • Products that look like pens or highlighters can easily be hidden by students in schools and classrooms.
  • Teachers may not recognize e-cigs, and smoke detectors do not detect the aerosol.​

E-cig use may lead to cigarette smoking

  • A large national survey of middle and high school students found that teens who used e-cigs were more likely to smoke regular cigarettes than teens who had not used them.
  • Many e-cigs contain nicotine, the addictive drug in cigarettes. Even products claiming to be nicotine-free may contain significant amounts of nicotine, hooking unsuspecting users.
  • In 2012, 1.78 million U.S. teens tried e-cigarettes and 160,000 of them were non-smokers!​

E-cigs can be modified for other drugs

  • Companies in Colorado and California make liquid (also called e-juice) for e-cigs that contain THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.
  • YouTube videos are readily available with instructions on how to modify e-cigs to smoke marijuana.​

E-cigs aren’t treated like tobacco by the law

  • E-cigs don’t have to follow the rules for cigarettes, like not advertising on TV.
  • They’re also not taxed like tobacco products, meaning they are cheap to buy.
  • E-cigs vary widely due to a current lack of regulation.
  • Kentucky law prohibits youth under 18 from buying e-cigarettes. Call 1-888-847-7222 to report sales to minors.

They pose safety concerns for the home, the teens who use them, and others breathing the air.

  • Nicotine in e-cigs may contain a lethal dose, especially dangerous to young children attracted to the flavored e-juice.
  • Lack of manufacturing regulations means they can contain other dangerous ingredients not listed on the label. It is difficult to know what is really in the aerosol being inhaled and released into the air.
  • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid) is just one of the toxic chemicals in the liquid and the aerosol.
  • Despite advertising claiming e-cigs are safe, there is a lot we don’t know about safety and long term health risks.

E-cigarette labels can be misleading

  • E-cigs are advertised in a variety of strengths, some even claiming to have no nicotine at all.
  • Labels are frequently wrong and some products claiming not to contain nicotine do in fact have it.

More and more teens are trying them

  • Ten percent of teens reported trying e-cigs in 2012, compared to 5% in 2011. Teen use doubled in one year!
  • The survey did not ask about e-hookahs or vape pens, so the numbers may be even higher.