Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults
What Are the Other Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults?
- Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes.
- Some of the ingredients in e-cigarette aerosol could also be harmful to the lungs in the long-term. For example, some e-cigarette flavorings may be safe to eat but not to inhale because the gut can process more substances than the lungs.1
- Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused some fires and explosions, a few of which have resulted in serious injuries.
- Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.
Can Using E-cigarettes Lead to Future Cigarette Smoking Among Kids, Teens, and Young Adults?
- Many young people who use e-cigarettes also smoke cigarettes.1 There is some evidence that young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
- Specifically, a 2018 National Academy of Medicine report found that there was some evidence that e-cigarette use increases the frequency and amount of cigarette smoking in the future.4
- But e-cigarette use among young people is unsafe, even if they do not progress to future cigarette smoking.
Aren’t E-cigarettes Safer Than Cigarettes?
- E-cigarettes expose users to fewer harmful chemicals than burned cigarettes.1 But burned cigarettes are extraordinarily dangerous, killing half of all people who smoke long-term.
- The use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for young people.
What Can I Do to Prevent My Child from Using E-cigarettes or to Help Them Stop?
- Set a good example by being tobacco-free. If you use tobacco, it’s never too late to quit. For free help, visit smokefree.gov or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Talk to your child or teen about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them. It’s never too late.
- Get the Talk With Your Teen About E-cigarettes [PDF – 5.2MB] tip sheet for parents. Start the conversation early with children about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them.
- Let your child know that you want them to stay away from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, because they are not safe for them. Seek help and get involved.
- Set up an appointment with your child’s health care provider so that they can hear from a medical professional about the health risks of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
- Speak with your child’s teacher and school administrator about enforcement of tobacco-free school grounds policies and tobacco prevention curriculum.
- Encourage your child to learn the facts and get tips for quitting tobacco products at Teen.smokefree.gov.
Where Can I Learn More?
- E-cigarettes Shaped Like Flash Drives: Information for Parents, Educators, and Health Care Providers [PDF – 1.2MB]
- Teachers and Parents: That USB Stick Might Be an E-cigarette[PDF – 1.2MB]
- Information from the Surgeon General on the risks of e-cigarettes for young people, and includes free tools such as a parent tip sheet for talking to teens about e-cigarettes [PDF – 5.2MB].
- Information for teens who use tobacco products, including tips on how to quit.
- Basic information about e-cigarettes from CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health.
- US Department of Health and Human Services. E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General [PDF – 8.47MB]. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2016. Accessed July 27, 2018.
- Willett JG, Bennett M, Hair EC, et al Recognition, use and perceptions of JUUL among youth and young adults. Tobacco Control Published Online First: 18 April 2018. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054273
- Goniewicz ML, Gupta R, Lee YH, et al. Nicotine levels in electronic cigarette refill solutions: a comparative analysis of products from the United States, Korea, and Poland. Int J Drug Policy. 2015;26(6):583–588.
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Public health consequences of e-cigarettes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
- Page last reviewed: August 7, 2018
- Page last updated: August 17, 2018
- Content source: