Electronic cigarettes: Toxic truth

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, include “vapes,” hookah pens or JUULs. 

E-cigarettes contain:  

  • Nicotine. 
  • Propylene glycol, which is used to make things like antifreeze, paint solvent and artificial smoke in fog machines. 
  • Chemical flavorings. 
  • Carcinogens, which are cancer-causing chemicals. 
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead. 

How can e-cigarettes affect the developing brain? 

  • A single JUUL pod contains 20 cigarettes’ worth of nicotine. 
  • Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm brain development up until mid-20s 
  • Nicotine can train your brain to be more easily addicted to other harmful drugs like meth and cocaine. 
  • Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control. 

Why are e-cigarettes dangerous for children? 

  • Children can be poisoned by swallowing, breathing or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes. 
  • Compared with adults, children have thinner skin, smaller organs and less mass, and they cannot remove poison in the same way as adults. 
  • Children may view e-cigs as candy because of the various appealing flavors, such as cotton candy, strawberry and mint. 
  • Nationally, about 50% of calls to poison control centers for e-cigarettes are for kids 5 years of age or younger. 

Poison prevention

  • Treat e-cigarettes the same way you treat poisonous chemicals, such as antifreeze and medications. 
  • Keep e-cigarettes and JUUL pods out of reach from your children at all times. 
  • Teach your children that e-cigarettes are not safe, nor are they candy. 


Quick Facts on the Risks of E-Cigarettes for Kids, Teens and Young Adults

E-cigarettes and Vaping: What Parents Should Know

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