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E-cigarettes

Information and Resources for Parents

E-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes or ENDS, are not safer than other tobacco products for youth. E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products. Recently, e-cigarette use among youth was declared an epidemic by the U.S. Surgeon General.  

Some e-cigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Some e-cigarettes don’t look like traditional tobacco products—they resemble pens, USB sticks and other everyday items so some youth use them without adults noticing.

Why are e-cigarettes unsafe?

The use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for young people. E-cigarettes can have numerous negative effects on health, including:

  • increased possibility of addiction;
  • long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health;
  • future use of other tobacco products, such as regular cigarettes, cigars, hookah and smokeless tobacco;
  • poisoning by swallowing, breathing or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through skin or eyes; and
  • serious injury from defective e-cigarette batteries causing fires and explosions.

While e-cigarettes do not produce smoke or smell like traditional cigarettes, the aerosol they produce is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, including nicotine and ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Additionally, breathing e-cigarette aerosol that someone else has exhaled poses potential health risks.

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 smokefree.gov 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.