Vapes • Vape Pens • E-cigarettes • E-hookahs
Vaporizers are battery operated devices that change a liquid mix of chemicals, also known as e-liquid, into a vapour that can be inhaled.
Vapes are also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-hookahs, vape pens, mods, tank systems and electronic nicotine delivery systems.
Vapes are made to resemble pens, USB sticks, cigarettes, cigars or pipes and everyday items. Due to this, vaping may go unnoticed in schools, including classrooms and bathrooms.
Vaping is increasingly popular with teens and young adults. Vapes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
Youth who vape are more likely to start using other tobacco products like cigarettes.
What’s in e-liquid?
It is difficult to know what exactly is in e-liquid, also known as e-juice. For example, some are marketed as nicotine free and in fact do contain nicotine.
It’s not just harmless water vapour. E-liquid often contains chemicals such as propylene glycol, acetaldehyde, vegetable glycerin, diacetyl, benzene, nickel, tin, lead, flavouring chemicals, additives and nicotine.
The health effects of vaping
There is limited research on the safety and long term health effects of vaping and exposure to second hand aerosol. More research is needed to determine safe levels of exposure. Here is what we know:
- Vaping releases an aerosol that can contain cancer causing chemicals. Breathing in these particles can harm the lungs.
- Individuals have reported experiencing side effects from use and exposure, including severe coughing, nausea, and headaches.
- Any product with nicotine is addictive and can be toxic if swallowed.
- Nicotine products are unsafe for youth. Their developing brains are more vulnerable to addiction. Nicotine use at a young age can make it harder to learn, concentrate or control impulses.
- Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and toxic to their developing babies.
In Ontario, 11% of youth in grades 7-12 report using e-cigarettes in the past year. OSDHUS, 2017
Is vape less harmful than tobacco?
The short answer is yes, BUT that doesn’t mean they are safe.
While vaping may be less harmful than regular cigarettes, the health effects related to the use and/or exposure to the second-hand vapours remains unknown. A major component of e-liquid is propylene glycol, a known lung irritant when inhaled.
Vaping aerosol generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than the deadly mix of 7,000 chemicals in smoke from regular cigarettes. However, vape aerosol is not harmless.
It can contain harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents.
Youth who vape are more likely to start using other tobacco products like cigarettes Due to the evolving nature of these products, more research is required to better understand the health risks versus benefits of e-cigarettes.
If you don’t smoke, don’t vape!
Can vaping help you quit smoking?
It’s important to know that most youth who vape have never used tobacco products, therefore they are not vaping as a quit aid. Also, current research shows most smokers who begin vaping continue to smoke tobacco products.
E-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adult smokers who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.
Research results are unclear, suggesting that e-cigarettes may or may not be effective in helping people to quit smoking. Individuals who are trying to quit smoking should speak to their health care provider about using vaping products or other quit-smoking aids.
How to talk to youth about vaping
Know the facts. Educate yourself about vaping so you can talk about it.
Help your kids plan ahead for social situations; this is most likely where vaping will be offered. Talk about how to avoid use and say no.
Encourage open conversations. This may be many small conversations over time. Try to find a natural time to discuss vaping, for example when you see someone using vaping products.
Ask your kids if they are vaping. Be patient, ready to listen and avoid criticizing.
Ask for support if needed from a health care provider or another trusted adult.
Be a positive role model; don’t use tobacco or vaporizing products.
The Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017 was passed October 17, 2018. This legislation bans the sale and promotion of vaping and tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19 years.
This law also prohibits vaping in most public places, including schools, restaurants, workplaces and vehicles with minors inside.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is responsible for enforcing the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
The Tobacco and Vaping Products Act became law on May 23, 2018. Adults age 19 and older can legally purchase nicotine vaping products as a less harmful option than smoking.
Currently, the vaping industry is unregulated in Canada and products have not been fully evaluated for safety, quality and efficacy by Health Canada.
If you use tobacco, its never too late to quit. For information about smoking cessation contact: Haldimand-NorfolkHealth Unit at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623, Ext. 3278 or email QuitClinic@hnhu.org