Here are some questions and comments kids have about e-cigarettes — and some ideas about how you can answer them. 

Why don’t you want me to vape/use e-cigarettes?

  • Science shows that e-cigarettes contain ingredients that are addictive and could harm different parts of your body.
  • Right now, your brain is still developing, which means you are more vulnerable to addiction. Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine which can change your brain to make you crave more of it. It can also affect your memory and concentration. I don’t want that for you!
  • E-cigarettes contain chemicals that are harmful. When people use e-cigarettes, they breathe in tiny particles that can harm their lungs.
  • The cloud that people exhale from e-cigarettes can expose you to chemicals that are not safe to breathe.
  • If you start using vapes now, there’s a higher chance you’ll start smoking too. Both can be very hard to quit, and dangerous to your health.

What’s the big deal about nicotine?

  • Your brain is still developing until about age 25. The Surgeon General reported that nicotine is addictive and can harm your brain development.
  • Using nicotine at your age may make it harder for you to concentrate, learn or control your impulses.
  • Nicotine can train your brain to be more easily addicted to other drugs like meth and cocaine.
  • I don’t say this to scare you, but I want you to have the facts because nothing is more important to me than your health and safety.

Aren’t e-cigarettes safer than conventional cigarettes?

  • Scientific studies show that it isn’t safe for you because your brain is still developing. That includes all nicotine products, including e-cigarettes.
  • Whether you get nicotine from an e-cigarette or a cigarette, it’s still risky.
  • Some e-cigarette batteries have even exploded and hurt people.

I thought e-cigarettes didn’t have nicotine – just water and flavoring.

  • I used to think that too. But many e-cigarettes have nicotine. There are also other chemicals in them that can be harmful.
  • Let’s look at the Surgeon General’s website on e-cigarettes together so you can see for yourself.

I (or my friends) have tried e-cigarettes and it was no big deal.

  • I appreciate your honesty. In the future, I hope you (or your friends) will stay away from e-cigarettes and other tobacco products, including cigarettes. Science shows that e-cigarettes contain ingredients that are addictive and could harm different parts of your body.
  • Next time we go to the doctor, let’s ask about the risks of nicotine, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products.

You used tobacco, so why shouldn’t I?

  • If I could live my life over again, I never would have started smoking. I learned that people who smoke cigarettes are much more likely to die from certain diseases than people who don’t smoke. That was really scary, so I quit smoking.
  • Quitting was really hard, and I don’t want you to go through that. The best thing is not to start at all.