As the number of young people using e-cigarettes increases throughout Pennsylvania and nationally, the Department of Health launched a new campaign aimed at helping parents prevent children from vaping because most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive and can hurt adolescent brain development.
“Parents need to be aware that these products are not a safe alternative to smoking for their children,” Health Secretary Dr. Levine said. “We are launching a new multimedia campaign aimed at helping parents begin the conversation about vaping with their children. It is so important to talk to your kids to let them know that vaping is dangerous for them and their future health.”
Most e-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) contain nicotine, which is highly addictive.
“We only have one brain, and our brains continue to develop until we are about 25 years old,” Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Nicotine found in e-cigarettes can harm adolescent brain development and decrease respiratory health, and those who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to use other tobacco products or become addicted to nicotine. More studies are showing that even the flavorings in e-cigarettes that claim to be nicotine-free are having impacts on the heart, lung, and brain.”
E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women or adults who do not currently use tobacco products. It is also important to remember that 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 serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead.
There are several things you can do to influence your child or teen’s decision 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 to them;
- Set up an appointment with your child 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 enforcing tobacco-free school grounds policies and tobacco prevention curriculum; and
- Encourage your child or teen to learn the facts and get tips for quitting tobacco products by visiting the Surgeon General’s e-cigarette website.