Get educated. Arm yourself with the truth.

Even if you’ve heard of this trend we call vaping, you may not be familiar with exactly what it is, the subculture associated with it or how rapidly its evolved to become “mainstream” among youth. Here are a few facts and resources to help you understand why we’re working to arm students and their parents with information about this unsafe and uncool behavior.

A snapshot of the vaping evolution

Image source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or vaporizer.

Just when you thought cigarettes were dead …

With the traditional smoking trend on the decline, vaping came on the scene as a cigarette for the digital age. Electronic cigarettes, commonly referred to as e-cigs, mods, PVs (personal vaporizers), vape pens or simply vapes, are battery powered and contain solutions (eliquid) that are heated to release an aerosol (vapor) inhaled by the user. The eliquid can contain propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), nicotine, flavorings and other substances, including marijuana or hash.

The seriousness of these eye-popping stats

Popular brands, including JUUL, NJOY and Blu, targeted teens and pre-teens with their advertising, driving usage rates among young people significantly higher. In particular, their trendy packaging has made it easier for teens to disguise vapes as flash drives, eye drops or other common items they might possess, hiding their usage from parents, teachers and other prying eyes. Take a look at what recent self-reporting data shows about middle- and high-school usage trends.

Teens Who Vaped in the Past Year

What Do Teens Say They Are Vaping?

Source: Monitoring the Future 2018 Survey Results, published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Yeah, we said it’s uncool. So did you.

Young people are starting to pick up on the fact that vaping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be by those glorifying it on the internet and in social media. In addition to reading about the effects of vaping, they’re seeing the potential consequences firsthand among their peers — in the form of cold sores from shared vapes and addicted friends who can’t focus on schoolwork, no cap.

We polled local teens and they confirmed our suspicions: the list of reasons to avoid e-cigarettes is long. Here’s why they don’t vape, and you shouldn’t either.

Tobacco 21 Cities in Missouri and Kansas

Teens can’t buy.
And shouldn’t try.

In December 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Tobacco 21 initiative into law raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products — including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, cigars, pipe tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems including e-cigarettes and e-liquids — from 18 to 21.

It’s good to know the law. It’s even better to follow it.

Name that chemical

Do any of these words sound familiar? Find out why you might want to know them.

FORMALDEHYDE

form·al·de·hyde
/fôrˈmaldihīd,fərmˈaldəˌhīd/

This is used to embalm dead people. It’s also in vape juice. As if that’s not gross enough, ingesting it causes cancer. You could say vaping gives the funeral home a head start.

CINNAMALDEHYDE

cin·na·mal·de·hyde
/sin-ə-ˈmal-də-hīd/

It’s in vape juice. It sounds like a baking ingredient, but it actually destroys cells and DNA. Changing DNA is called mutation — but this won’t make you a cool mutant like Spiderman.

VITAMIN E ACETATE

vi·ta·min e ac·e·tate
/vī-tə-mən/ē/a-sə-ˌtāt/

It’s been linked to lung damage in people who vaped THC products. Why is it in vape juice? It’s a filler ingredient so vape cartridges last longer. Kinda like raisins in trail mix. Ew.

Pledge your support to vaporize the trend.

Maybe you’ve tried vaping. Maybe not. Either way, you know that this is one trend you’ll celebrate seeing come to an official end. So teens and pre-teens, parents, teachers, cool aunts, adoring grandparents and favorite neighbors, here’s your chance to make your voice heard. (State and federal legislators, we’re talking to you, too!)