A vape pen is made up of various parts:
- Battery - the energy source that powers the atomizer
- Atomizer - heating element that heats the liquid
- E-liquid - sometimes called e-juice, this is put into the device and often contains flavors and/or nicotine
- Cartridge - tank that holds the liquid and may also hold the atomizer
- Aerosol - heating liquid inside of the device creates an aerosol that is inhaled into the body and out into the air
According to the Surgeon General and the CDC, "E-cigarettes or vape pens are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. The liquid usually has nicotine and flavoring in it, and other additives. The nicotine in e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes is addictive. E-cigarettes are considered tobacco products because most of them contain nicotine, which comes from tobacco.
Besides nicotine, e-cigarettes can contain harmful and potentially harmful ingredients, including:
- ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease
- volatile organic compounds
- heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead"
More facts regarding e-cigarettes and vapes can be found at Know the Risks.
According to the Surgeon General, "E-cigarette use poses a significant – and avoidable – health risk to young people in the United States. Besides increasing the possibility of addiction and long-term harm to brain development and respiratory health, e-cigarette use is associated with the use of other tobacco products that can do even more damage to the body. Even breathing e-cigarette aerosol that someone else has exhaled poses potential health risks."
For details about effects on the brain and the risk of addiction, go to Know the Facts.
Quitting vapes or other tobacco products can be hard. Here are some ways to help find the support you need:
- This is Quitting powered by truth®is a free and confidential texting program for young people who vape. Text “VapeFreeMass” to 88709. In partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
- My Life, My Quit TM has youth coach specialists trained to help young people by phone or text. Young people can call or text "Start My Quit" to 855-891-9989 for free and confidential help or sign up online at mylifemyquit.com.
- Visit teen.smokefree.gov for tools and tips.
- You can ask your school nurse or counselor, athletic coach, doctor, parent or other trusted adult for help.
- For more information, you can visit mass.gov/vaping.
Peer pressure, or feeling like you need to "join the crowd" in order to fit in, can be difficult to deal with! Some ideas for dealing with peer pressure are below:
- Blame your parents! - Use your parents' rules as an excuse to get out of a situation or say "no" when feeling pressured to join in on vaping or other behaviors that you do not feel comfortable with. Say something like, "my parents will never let me out of the house again if they find out I did that, and my parents always find out!".
- Choose friends who support you - Although it might feel like it sometimes, you are not the only one who does not want to give in to peer pressure. Choose friends who are like-minded and respect your choices and spend time with them instead of with people who pressure you to do things you are not comfotable with.
- Just say NO - Although it can be hard to do, it does get easier with practice. Try saying, "no, thanks", "no, I'm not into that sort of thing" or "thanks, but I can't".
- Stand up for others - Remember that is just as hard for others to resist peer pressure as it is for you, so if you see someone else being pressured, step in to stop the pressure or help get the person away from the situation by suggesting something that moves them away ("Let's go over there and say hi to Jerry.", or "Let's go watch the game." ).
Section 37H of the Education Reform Bill states clearly that there is a prohibition of the use of any tobacco products within the school buildings, school facilities, on the school grounds or on the school buses by any individual, including all students and school personnel.
If you see another student vaping at school, please speak to a trusted adult at school and provide specific details as soon as possible.
According to TeensHealth.org, “Vaping is the inhaling of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or other vaping device.” These are battery-powered and rechargeable smoking devices. They have cartridges filled with a liquid that can contain nicotine, marijuana, and flavorings. This liquid is heated by the device into a vapor, which is inhaled. E-cigarettes come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Most brands of e-cigarettes contain similar levels of nicotine to traditional cigarettes. One JUUL cartridge, for example, has the same levels of nicotine as one pack of (or 20 individual) cigarettes. The aerosol emitted by vaping cartridges also contain other harmful chemicals and substances, including heavy metals such as lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents.
Vaping was originally marketed as a “safer” alternative to smoking cigarettes and a means of quitting smoking altogether, however there is no evidence that using e-cigarettes can help someone quit smoking, and nearly all of the health risks related to cigarettes are relevant to the risks of vaping. The FDA issued a warning against promoting these false claims, as well as warning against the dangerous and fatal effects of their outreach to students.
Many vape devices contain nicotine. Nicotine, no matter its form of inhalation, is addictive. Teenagers and young adults are especially prone to its effects. Nicotine affects brain development, which can make it difficult to learn and concentrate, and is incredibly harmful to the developing adolescent brain. Nicotine also irritates the throat and lungs, which can lead to serious damage. The aerosols produced by vape devices leave behind chemical residue that is harmful for the user, those around them, and the environment.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed clinical similarities in lung illnesses associated with e-cigarettes and vaping. More information about what the CDC considers an Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette and Vaping Products can be found here.
The topic of vaping may seem impossible to avoid, as marketing for it is practically everywhere you look—on TV, in storefronts, in magazines—and targeted just for you. The most important thing is that you know the facts, your resources, and how to help yourself and those you love.
Some students may feel peer pressure to vape and some situations may be difficult to navigate or avoid. There might be circumstances when you feel pressure to vape because there are friends or people you admire who are doing it. In these types of situations, it is important to remember that you have the right to make choices for yourself and your body. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, remember that you always have the right to leave, say no, or make up an excuse (such as blaming your parents).
Remember that many students are affected by vaping. Please reach out to a trusted adult if you have questions, need help, or think that a friend needs help.
Support at School
There are many people at school who are willing to listen and talk. Please reach out to a trusted adult at school if you need help. A list of school support resources can be found here. Information shared with school counselors and nurses will not be shared without your permission, unless there is a risk of harm to yourself or someone else.
Hotlines — Call & Text Support
If you or someone you know is at risk of harming themselves or others, please call 911 immediately. Describe the situation to the operator and find a trusted adult to help.
If you are having a non-emergency crisis, there are many resources available. Below is a list of some important numbers and resources to know about in case you find yourself or someone you know needing anonymous support.
My Life, My Quit: (855) 891-9989 or text "Start My Quit"
At My Life, My Quit we share the truth about nicotine, vaping and other tobacco products. If you decide you want to quit, we're here to help you do it successfully. Text or call to talk with a coach who is ready to listen and cheer you on. My Life, My Quit is always free and confidential.
Truth Initiative: "DITCHJUUL" to 88709
Youth and young adults can access the new e-cigarette quit program by the Truth Initiative.
SmokefreeTXT for Teens: Text QUIT to 47848
Young adults (13-19 years old) in the United States who want to be smokefree can receive 3-5 messages per day for 6-8 weeks, depending on your quit rate, by Smokefree Teen.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
All states have quitlines with counselors who are trained specifically to help smokers quit. You can call this number to connect directly to your state’s quitline. Hours of operation and services vary from state to state.
The National Cancer Institute: 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848)
The National Cancer Institute’s trained counselors provide information and support for quitting in English and Spanish. Call Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.
National Cancer Institute LiveHelp; LiveHelp in Spanish
Connect with an information specialist. Get immediate information and answers about quitting smoking. LiveHelp is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern time.
SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator: 1-800-662-4357 (English and Español)
For 24/7 free and confidential information and referrals in English and Spanish, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727, English and Español)
For 24/7 free and confidential information about e-cigarettes, vaping, and tobacco in English and Spanish.
Websites — Resources & Information
There are many resources about vaping on the internet. Below are some dependable links that you can browse for information and support.
Know the Risks
Know the Risks is a great guide for students to help understand the facts and risks behind vaping and e-cigarettes.
Smokefree Teen is part of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Smokefree.gov Initiative. The goal of Smokefree Teen is to reduce the number of youth who use tobacco.
Truth Initiative conducts groundbreaking research and policy studies, gives young people the facts about tobacco and the industry behind it, engages individuals and groups to make change in their communities, innovates new ways to end tobacco use and joins forces with collaborators committed to a tobacco-free future.
National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA for Teens)
NIDA has the latest information on e-cigarettes, vaping, and tobacco and their affects on the brain and body.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC has valuable information and public health resources, including health effects and statistics on smoking and vaping.
BecomeAnEX by Truth Initiative
BecomeAnEX is a free, digital quit-smoking plan and online community of thousands of smokers and ex-smokers developed by Truth Initiative in collaboration with Mayo Clinic. It has helped more than 800,000 people develop the skills and confidence to successfully quit. Research has shown that following the BecomeAnEX quit plan quadruples a tobacco user's chance of quitting.
The quitSTART app is a free smartphone app that helps you quit smoking with tailored tips, inspiration, and challenges.
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