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THE FACTS on e-cigarette use among youth and young adults

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E-cigarette Basics

E-cigarettes are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it, and other additives. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive. E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.

Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:

  • ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease
  • volatile organic compounds
  • heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead

 

E-cigarettes and Youth Don't Mix

Adolescent years are times of important brain development. Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25. Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.

Nicotine affects brain development, which continues to age 25.

Trends

E-cigarettes are very popular with young people. Their use has grown dramatically in the last five years. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.

E-cigarettes Are Unsafe for Young People

No matter how it's delivered, nicotine is harmful for youth and young adults. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine as well as other chemicals that are known to damage health. For example, users risk exposing their respiratory systems to potentially harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes. Read about these and other risks young people face if they use e-cigarettes.

Talk with Your Kids

You can influence your children's decision about whether to use e-cigarettes. Even if you have used tobacco yourself, your children will listen if you discuss your struggles with nicotine addiction. Be clear that you don't approve of them smoking or using e-cigarettes, and that you expect them to live tobacco-free.

Use CDC's Parent Tip Sheet to help you talk with your children. This tip sheet offers facts and practical ways to start conversations with young people about the risks of e-cigarette use.

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