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Vaping on the Rise Among Teens

Illustration by Koren Shadmi

Out with the old and in with the new.

While cigarette use among teens has decreased, vape culture has made smoking cool again. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20 percent of high school students reported using e-cigarettes at least once. The device may be seen as pumping out harmless water vapor, but the facts tell a different story.

What’s exactly in the vaping liquid? The top ingredient is nicotine, but there is a slew of others, which aren’t regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. With flavors like fruit and chocolate, teens may not be able to taste just how toxic the liquids are. The flavorful oil contains a chemical called diacetyl, which is linked to causing lung disease. Heavy metals, cancer-causing chemicals, and ultrafine particles, which can be harmful once inhaled, have also been found. Chest pain, sore throat, and headaches have also been reported side effects of smoking e-cigarettes.

Related: I Think My Daughter Is Lying About Not Smoking

Teens have easy access to purchasing e-cigarettes online and basically anywhere where cigarettes are sold. Currently, minors are legally allowed to buy them in 10 states, including Maine, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Dr. Todd Freudenberger, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Wash., explained to King 5, “Just say no, that’s the message. E-cigarettes are not benign; they’re not harmless.”

Also see: Helping Teens Say No

The American Lung Association has also created a Myths and Facts sheet to help dispel the idea that e-cigarettes are harmless. Learn more and spread the word with your family.