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Talk to Your Child About Vaping

While They Are Still Willing to Listen

Think your kid wouldn’t vape? It's time to burst that bubble. Statistics say they might. Find out what you need to know about why kids vape and the dangers, signs and symptoms. Talk to your child about vaping.


Get The Facts
About Vaping

Research shows that vaping is dangerous, highly addictive and harmful to a child’s health and brain development. And like other addictions, it’s easier for kids to never start than try to stop once they’re hooked. Get the facts, so you can have a conversation with your child.

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Isn’t vaping just “flavored water vapor”?

No. Vaping involves inhaling “e-juice” in the form of aerosol produced by an electronic cigarette or vape device. The aerosols typically contain flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease,¹ nicotine and harmful chemicals, including formaldehyde and acrolein.² Vape cartridges or “pods” can also be filled with THC, CBD or other “e-juice.”³

Are vape devices and e-cigarettes the same thing?

Yes, e-cigarettes and vaping devices are synonymous. Ever-evolving slang or brand names are also used to refer to vaping, such as “JUULing,” or“blowing clouds,” a nod to the smoke “cloud” produced by exhaling chemical-filled aerosols.-juice.”³

What do e-cigarettes and vaping devices look like?

E-cigarettes and vape devices come in a number of forms. While some resemble tobacco products, others resemble household objects like USB devices, pens, highlighters and chargers. Vaping companies funded by Big Tobacco are constantly coming out with new products built to skirt regulation and parental detection.

What are the signs of use?

Vaping is easy to hide, and the signs can be easy to miss. Unlike traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes don’t leave the telltale scent of tobacco. If you notice any of the following things, it’s best to talk with your child about whether or not they are vaping.

  • Presence of Unfamiliar Technology, Online Purchases or Packaging

  • Faint Sweet or Fruity Scents

  • Behavioral and Mood Changes

  • Increased Irritability or Restlessness

  • Cutting Back on Caffeine

  • Desire for Flavor Due to Tastebud Degradation

  • Pneumonia

  • Increased Thirst

  • Nosebleeds


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. 2016.

  2. Ogunwale, Mumiye A et al. (2017) Aldehyde Detection in Electronic Cigarette Aerosols. ACS omega 2(3): 1207-1214. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.6b00489].

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products.  

Content for Get the Facts and Conversation Guide provided by 


Special thanks to Dr. Yasmin Cole-Lewis, Dr. Lisa Damour, and Dr. S. Christy Sadreameli, who provided issue expertise and feedback on this vaping conversation guide. Dr. Yasmin Cole-Lewis is a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric pain psychology at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Lisa Damour is a psychologist, best-selling author, monthly New York Times columnist, and regular contributor to CBS News. Dr. S. Christy Sadreameli is a pediatric pulmonologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she takes care of pediatric patients of all ages with a variety of .





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