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Keeping Families Safe: Vaping

Smoking and vaping may be unhealthy and addictive and pose health risk to lungA fairly new product, e-cigarettes have increased in popularity the last few years captivating youth with their sleek devices and “fun” flavors. Little is known about these products and the long-term health effects on their use. However, they do contain Nicotine a very addictive chemical with well-known health risks. Nicotine is very troublesome to the developing mind, which fully matures around age 25.1

It’s important that parents, guardians, and educators become familiar with what e-cigarettes are and the warning signs that a child may be vaping. Help create awareness of this issue by reviewing the information below and sharing it with your family, friends, and community members.

Vaping linked to COVID-19 risk in teens and young adults

A new study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that young people ages 13 to 24 who had used e-cigarettes in the previous 30 days were almost five times as likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than nonusers. Those who had used both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes in the previous 30 days were 6.8 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

  1. Teens and E-Cigarettes: What Are The Risks?

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  2. Vaping Warning Signs for Parents

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  3. Talk to Your Teen About Marijuana Use

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What are e-cigarettes?

  • Electronic cigarettes, e-pens, e-pipes, e-hookah, and e-cigars are known collectively as ENDS— electronic nicotine delivery systems.
  • When activated, the batteries within the e-cigarette heat up metal coils that transform vape juice into an aerosol. Vape juice is made up of liquid nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.

Vaping graphic from CDC showing Tanks & Mods, Rechargeable e-cigarette and Disposable e-cigarette

Source: CDC

Why is it so popular?

  • Compared to cigarettes, e-cigarettes offer a variety of “fun” flavors such as green apple, watermelon, and cotton candy, which appeal to a younger audience.
  • Due to the lack of research and regulation, e-cigarettes don’t have the same social stigma that regular cigarettes currently have.
  • Social media influencers and marketing strategies implemented by e-cigarette companies have also had an impact on their popularity among younger age groups.

What chemicals are found in an e-cigarette?

  • Due to lack of regulation, it is difficult to know what chemicals are found in an e-cigarette and how these chemicals vary from one brand to another.
    • One study found over 42 chemicals in an e-cigarette pod, 20 of these were identified as harmful to the respiratory and cardiovascular system. 2
  • Nicotine concentrations also vary between e-cigarettes, some have been found to be 5 to 8 times higher than in normal cigarettes.3
    • One JUUL Pod can contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. 4
    • Nicotine can have significant negative impacts on the brain development of children and young adults. 5
  • THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that produces the high, has also been found in e-cigarettes.
    • THC found in vapes is usually at a much higher concentration. 6

E-Cigarette or Vaping Product Use Associated Lung Injury (EVALI)

  • As of February 18, 2020, a total of 2,807 people from all 50 states have been hospitalized with EVALI; 68 deaths have been confirmed in 27 states. 7
  • Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, and stomach pains.
  • THC and Vitamin E acetate containing e-cigarette products from informal sources are strongly linked to most EVALI cases.
    • Vitamin E acetate is used as an additive and carrier oil for THC.

Warning signs that your child may be vaping

  • Finding unusual or unfamiliar items.
    • Vaping devices come with detachable parts such as reusable tanks (to hold the vape juice), atomizers, coils, lithium batteries, and chargers.
  • Changes in behavior, mood swings, and agitation.
    • Nicotine diminishes the prefrontal cortex of a young brain which adjusts emotional control, decision making, and impulse regulation.
  • An increase in shortness of breath.
    • Trouble breathing during routine physical activities such as sports practice, gym class, etc.
  • Increased thirst or dehydration.
    • Propylene Glycol, an ingredient found in vape juice, is known to absorb and hold water molecules and is the primary cause of dehydration.
    • Frequent vaping can also cause dry mouth.
  • Nosebleeds and mouth sores.
    • Excessive vaping can inflame the mouth and nose tissue.
    • Vaping aerosol can also cause throat irritation causing users to cough or clear their throat frequently.
  • Caffeine sensitivity.
    • Consumption of caffeinated drinks (coffee, energy drinks, etc.) may be followed by increased mood swings and anxiety.

Statistics and Trends

  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that e-cigarettes are not safe for youth. 8
  • As of 2019 5 million of all youth use e-cigarettes. 9
  • From 2017 to 2019, there was a 135% increase in vaping. 10
  • 51% of Arizona high school students have tried a vaping device.11
  • Teens who vape are 4 times more likely to start smoking cigarettes. 12
  • Teen who smoke cigarettes are 8 times more likely to use other drugs. 13
  •  Addiction is a disease with adolescent origins: 90% of people who have an addiction started to smoke cigarettes and use drugs before they were 18 years old. 14

Is it legal?

  • On December 20, 2019, the President signed legislation raising the federal minimum age for sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years.  Currently, the State of Arizona is waiting for the FDA to issue rule changes before any change in law takes effect. 15

General School Policies

  • Possession or use of tobacco products including e-cigarettes, other chemical inhalation devices, or aerosol products are prohibited at school and any other school-sponsored event.
  • No student shall sell, transfer, or offer to sell aerosol released substance containing a toxic substance.
  • No alcohol, drugs, synthetic drugs, counterfeit drugs, or imitation drugs on school property.
  • Suspension and expulsion for a repeated violation.



  1. Yale Medicine."Nicotine on developing mind” Accessed May 2020.
  2. GASP of Colorado."Harmful Chemicals in Electronic Cigarettes.” National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. Accessed September 2019.
  3. Maier, Scott. “Juul Delivers Substantially More Nicotine than Previous Generation E-Cigs and Cigarettes.” University of California San Francisco. Accessed January 2020.
  4. “How Much Nicotine is in JUUL?” Truth Initiative. Accessed September 2019.
  5. "Know the Risks: E-Cigarettes and Young People.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed September 2019.
  6. “Beyond Nicotine: Vaping Marijuana.” Center on Addiction. Accessed September 2019.
  7. “Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping Products.” Center for Disease Control. Accessed January 2020.
  8. “About Electronic Cigarettes.” Center for Disease Control. Accessed September 2019
  9. “Youth Tobacco Use: Results from National Youth Tobacco Survey.” U.S Food and Drug Administration. Accessed November 2019.
  10. “JUUL and Youth: Rising E-Cigarette Popularity.” Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Accessed November 2019.
  11.  “Tobacco, Vape, and E-Cigarettes: Talking to Your Kids about Vaping.” AZDHS. Accessed November 2019.
  12. Glantz, Stanton A. PhD. “Longitudinal Study show that kids who vape are 4 times more likely to start smoking cigs.” Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. Accessed November 2019.
  13.  Chun, JongSerl PhD. “Smoking Among Adolescents in Substance Abuse Treatment: A Study of Programs, Policy, and Prevalence.” U.S NCBI. Accessed September 2019.
  14. “Statistics on Addiction in America.” Addiction Center. Accessed September 2019.
  15. “Tobacco 21” FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). Accessed May 2020.