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Information and Resources for Parents

Most e-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive. Recently, e-cigarette use among youth was declared an epidemic by the U.S. Surgeon General. 

Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Some e-cigarettes look like pens, USB sticks and other everyday items.

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What's the bottom line?

E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products:

  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.
  • Nicotine is toxic to developing fetuses.
  • Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and their developing babies.
  • Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to use other tobacco products, including cigarettes.

E-cigarette aerosol is NOT harmless “water vapor.” It can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine and ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs; flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead.

What can I do to prevent my child or teen from using e-cigarettes (or help them stop)?

Parents and caregivers can influence a child's or teen's decision about whether to use e-cigarettes or other tobacco products.

  • Set a good example by being tobacco-free. If you use tobacco and need free help quitting, visit or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
  • Talk to your child or teen about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them.
  • Set up an appointment with your child’s or teen's health care provider so that they can talk to a medical professional about the health risks of e-cigarettes.
  • Speak with your child’s or teen's teacher and school administrator about enforcement of tobacco-free school grounds policies and tobacco prevention curriculum.
  • Encourage your child or teen to learn the facts and get tips for quitting tobacco products by visiting the Surgeon Generals e-cigarette website.

Need help starting the conversation? Use the CDC's tip sheet to talk to your child or teen about the potential health risks of e-cigarettes:

Learn about additional action you can take to prevent harm to youth and young adults from e-cigarettes.

Help Teens Stop Using E-cigarettes:

  • Catch my Breath – e-cigarette prevention program specific to grades 5-12. CATCH My Breath is a best-practices youth E-cigarette prevention program. CATCH My Breath utilizes a peer-led teaching approach and meets National and State Health Education Standards. 
  • INDEPTH™ - American Lung Association's convenient alternative to suspension or citation that helps schools and communities address the teen vaping problem in a more supportive way. INDEPTH™ is an interactive program that teaches students about nicotine dependence, establishing healthy alternatives and how to kick the unhealthy addiction that got them in trouble in the first place. 
  • My Life MY Quit – Helps teens quit vaping through text messaging and phone counseling, sponsored by National Jewish Health. Coaching helps teens develop a quit plan, identify triggers, practice refusal skills and receive ongoing support for changing behaviors. Self-help and educational materials designed for teens, with input from teens.
  • SmokeFree Teen - Smokefree Teen is part of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Initiative. The goal of Smokefree Teen is to reduce the number of youth who use tobacco.
  • This is Quitting – This is Quitting is a free mobile program from Truth Initiative designed to help young people quit vaping. To enroll in This is Quitting, teens and young adults text DITCHVAPE to 88709

Information for Students, Parents and Educators

E-cigarettes and Youth Toolkit for Partners – digital toolkit that provides information and resources to take action

Know the Risks: A Youth Guide to E-cigarettes – online presentation, intended for adults who educate or serve youth, ages 11 – 18 (teachers, youth ministers, coaches, counselors, scout leaders, etc.).

Vaping: Know the Truth – Vaping: Know the Truth is a new national youth vaping prevention curriculum created by Truth Initiative, in collaboration with the American Heart Association, to educate students about the dangers of e-cigarette use.

Free Materials to Help Teens Quit Vaping

My Life My Quit poster

New brain ad

For additional information, please contact the Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control at 717-783-6600.