Vaping Blows, young black man behind smoke

Tarrant County Public Health believes it's important for parents to know that their child's continued exposure to e-cigarettes of ANY kind can harm their brain and seriously affect their ability to learn, remember and maintain focus. And we want to help you help your child understand what they may be doing to themselves.


Public Service Announcement regarding Vaping

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"The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of

e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern.

We must take action now to protect the health of our nation's young people."

U.S. Surgeon General advisory, September 2018

This webpage will arm you with facts you need to know and help you talk to your child about the dangers of vaping and e-cigs.


Vaping is a newer alternative to smoking. Basically, vaping is a verb describing the use of a vaporizer. The process involves heating up liquid which is then atomized into vapor that is inhaled. This vapor carries the nicotine into the lungs which is absorbed into the bloodstream.

  • Vaping -The act of using an e-cigarette
  • Vape -This term is also used to describe the use of an e-cigarette, but it’s also used by some to describe their e-cigarette. “Check out my new vape!”
  • Vapor -The smoke-like cloud that is produced on the exhale from an e-cigarette.
  • Vaper -A person that vapes is considered a vaper.
young woman holding e-cigarette, vaping


Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs for short, are devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that is then inhaled by the user. The aerosol from e-cigarettes is not a harmless vapor. It is a mixture of nicotine and potentially harmful chemicals that are not safe to breathe.

Some newer e-cigarettes on the market contain nicotine salts in liquid form, and those who use them may not understand the use, purpose and safety of this form of nicotine. The makers of JUUL (one of the more popular types of e-cigarettes) actually claim their nicotine salt formulation increases the rate and amount of nicotine delivered in the blood, compared to other products.

Nicotine is very addictive and can harm brain development, especially in users from adolescence into their mid-20s.


e-cigarette battery smoking and bubbling

Vaping Fact:

Defective e-cig batteries can cause sudden fires and even explosions.

Vaping = Loss of Freedom

The addictive nature of vaping messes with the one thing teens want the most: independence. Being addicted to nicotine is like losing your freedom of choice. It goes from a WANT to a NEED.  The risk of losing that freedom might be a method for parents to talk to their teens/tweens.

How much nicotine is in an e-cigarette?

Nicotine levels in e-cigarettes vary, though some --like JUUL-- reach levels similar to regular cigarettes.

Labeling is not always a reliable indicator of nicotine content, as studies have found mislabeling a common problem among e-cigarette manufacturers.

Are e-cigarettes harmful?

There is no "typical" e-cigarette. The products have different ingredients, different hardware and deliver a range of nicotine levels and potentially toxic chemicals.

One of those toxic chemical --diacetyl-- was once commonly used to give food products such as popcorn a rich, buttery flavor. It has been shown to lead to a condition known as "popcorn lung," where the tiny air sacs inside the lungs develop scarring. This condition was first identified among popcorn factory workers who inhaled the chemical at their workplace.


Types of E-cigarettes

E-cigarettes are also called e-cigs, vape pens, mods and pod mods (the ones that look like USB drives). Here are some of the more popular vaping devices:

picture of typical e-cigarette


picture of 4 different colors of mods


picture of small, TANK e-cigarette


picture of 5 vials of liquid, and a vape pen

E-cigarette juice

picture of a JUULE pod mod e-cigarette


picture of vape pen

Vape pen

picture of several vials of colored liquid, smoke in background

Vaping Fact:

People have been poisoned by swallowing e-cig liquid or absorbing it through their skin.

Talking to Your Teen about Vaping

Before the Conversation

Start the Conversation

A more natural discussion will increase the likelihood your teen will listen. Rather than saying "We need to talk..." you might ask your teen what he/she thinks about a situation you witness together such as:

  • Seeing someone vaping
  • Passing a e-cigarette/vape shop
  • Keep your questions open ended
white girl in smoke


Empower Your Teen

Help your teen make healthy choices by asking him/her to highlight the pros and cons of vaping. While "it's fun" and "my friends are all doing it" might seem like good reasons to start, your teen probably understands that there are some compelling reasons to stop, as well.

Questions like, "How will vaping affect your ability to keep up on the field?" or "Do your friends who vape complain about feeling tired a lot?" may trigger your teen to consider the potential pitfalls.


black youth looking depressed

Vaping Fact:

Teens who are exposed to nicotine are at higher risk for depression and other mood disorders.

Questions They May Ask (And How You Can Respond)

"What's the big deal about nicotine?"

  • "Using nicotine at your age can make it harder for you to concentrate, focus, learn and control your impulses."
  • "Nicotine can train your brain to be more easily addicted, even to other drugs."
  • Additional response: "I don't say this to scare you, but I want you to have the facts because your health and safety are important to me."

"Aren't e-cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?"

  • "Whether you get nicotine from an e-cigarette or a cigarette, it is still risky."
  • "Because your brain is still developing, studies show it isn’t safe for you to use any form of nicotine."
  • "Some research suggests that e-cigarettes might be less harmful than cigarettes when adults who regularly smoke switch to them as a complete replacement. But nicotine in any form is a highly addictive drug."

"You used tobacco, so why can't I?"

  • "If I could live my life over again, I never would have started smoking. Once I learned how much control the cigarettes took of my life and the health effects, like emphysema and heart disease, I quit!"
  • "Quitting was one of the hardest things I have ever done and I don't want you to go through that. The best thing is to not start at all."

Take the time to talk with your teen about vaping.

You could be saving their life.

3 guys vaping

Additional background information - Patterns of e-cig use among youth

E-cigarettes first entered the U.S. marketplace around 2007. But since 2014, they have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. E-cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students increased 900 percent from 2011-2015, before declining for the first time from 2015 to 2017. However, current e-cigarette use has increased 78 percent among high school students during 2018, up from 11.7 percent in 2017 to 20.8 percent. In 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students, currently use e-cigarettes.

It has become so alarming that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration launched a campaign in September 2018 to warn youth about the dangers of e-cigarette use.