Information for Teens about Vaping and Smoking


What is a Quash Group

Quash groups are being offered in some local schools. Drop in to a lunch time information session to learn if a group is right for you.

Quash Image 1

What is the info session for?

  • Learn what the Quash program is all about.
  • Meet the School Nurse and other school or public health staff who will lead the group.
  • Sign up for the group if you are ready.

Can I bring a friend? Sure!

What time is the info session? You can drop in any time over your lunch time, but we highly suggest you come at the start of lunch to grab a slice of pizza before it’s gone. Plus, you will hear an overview of the program and can ask any questions you have.

How do I sign up for the Quash group?

  • sign up at the info session
  • drop in to see your school health nurse or text:  519-376-2006
  • tell your teacher or the principal


What is a Quash group?

Quash Logo

Change is a process, not an event. The Quash group helps you progress through each stage of the quit process.

Remember, long-lasting change is more likely when it's self-motivated and rooted in positive thinking. Quash is a program of the Lung Health Foundation. It was developed with input from teens who have quit vaping or smoking, as well as adults who work to support teens in quitting.

Quash Poster 2

How many weeks will the groups run?

A Quash group is 7 sessions with one session each week (so in total 7 weeks long).

How long will each session be?

75 minutes during either 2nd or 3rd period depending on when the group is scheduled at your school.

How many people are in a Quash group?

The group can have a maximum of 10 students, along with two adult group leaders.

Can I join anytime?

No. It is important that group members start the group together at the first session to get the best experience. It is important to attend as many sessions as possible. If you miss a session, you will need to meet with the school nurse another time that week to stay on track.

Quash Poster 3

Will my parents find out?

No. Not if you don’t want them to, but we encourage you to talk to important people in your life about what you’re going through. Support people are an important part of the process.

Can I sign up for the group with a friend?

Sure, but they must be someone who is vaping or smoking and wants to cut down or quit too.

What is the Quash App?

The Quash app can be downloaded and used by anyone. We will also use it as a tool during group sessions to set goals and build your quit plan. Learn more about it from this video

Quit Vaping Right Away with the Quash App. Your Lungs Will Thank You! - YouTube


Where can I get more information?

Drop by to see the school nurse or check with guidance or your student success teachers.

If you want to know more about Quash check out their website.


Vaping and Youth

What is an E-Cigarette or Vaping?

A vape or e-cigarette is a battery-operated device that heats up a liquid chemical into an aerosol that is then inhaled.


This is often called vaping. E-liquids or “E-juice” do not contain tobacco. However, most of these products contain substantial amounts of nicotine which is the addictive substance also found in cigarettes. Other chemicals and metals are found in e-liquids. Some of these chemicals are the same ones found in tobacco cigarettes.

Vaping has not been proven to be a helpful quitting aid. Nicotine replacement therapy such as patches, inhalers and gum do not heat nicotine so using these products to manage cravings does not expose the user to the types of chemicals that are found in tobacco and vaping products.

It’s just water vapour right?  False!  E-cigarettes may be less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, but that does not make them safe!


A Puff of Truth

A recent study found that vaping youth had a number of chemicals that could be detected in bodies.

  • Youth who were vaping had up to 3 times as many chemical organic compounds in their bodies as non-vaping youth.
  • Those who smoked and vaped (dual user) had up to 3 times as many than those who were only vaping.1

If you don’t smoke, don’t vape.


Types of E-cigarettes

Common terms for e-cigarettes include:

  • vapes
  • tanks
  • mods
  • pods
  • e-hookah,
  • e-pipe
  • vape pen


Vaping tanks are devices that can be refilled when empty and can be parts modified.  They may allow the user to turn the heat up or down. Turning the heat up creates larger vapour clouds, but is known to also increase the amount of nicotine and chemicals inhaled. There are also products specifically on the market to vape cannabis.



JUUL is a product which looks very similar to a USB stick and can be very small.

  • Each pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes.
  • JUUL always contains Nicotine - high amounts using a liquid of Nicotine Salts.
  • The less harsh nature of this product, high nicotine content and fruity flavours put youth at risk for quickly becoming addicted..
  • This product has captured half of the e-cigarette market in the U.S and the FDA has sounded the alarm about the numbers of youth and young adults using JUUL.
  • JUUL’s websites lists the following ingredients in the pods: Glycerol, propylene glycol, natural oils, extracts and flavour, nicotine and benzoic acid.


What is in E-Liquids (E-Juice)?

Most e-liquids include a mixture of:

  • propylene glycol
  • vegetable glycerin
  • nicotine
  • flavour ingredients

It is not just harmless water vapour, but an aerosol. Many vaping websites state that propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin and flavourings have been considered safe food additives by the FDA. Many flavour chemicals are recognized as safe for eating, but there is no evidence to show that they are safe when heated and inhaled into the lungs.

E-liquids do not contain tobacco. However, most of these products contain nicotine which is the addictive substance also found in cigarettes and derived from tobacco leaves. A new form of nicotine has been developed called, nicotine salts and is used in vape pods.  This new form is a mixture of freebase nicotine (from tobacco plant) mixed with an acid. The body can easily and quickly absorb this form of nicotine.

Some products are labeled as having zero nicotine, but many are not correctly labelled and do in fact contain some nicotine. Even when labelled as containing nicotine, some e-juice has been found to have a greater amount of nicotine than what is listed on the label.

E-liquids also contains a number of chemical compounds and metals. Some of these are the same ones found in tobacco cigarettes. When the ingredients in e-juice are heated, they break apart into toxic organic compounds such as:

  • acrylonitrile
  • acrolein,
  • propylene oxide
  • acrylamide
  • crotonaldehyde.

Metals such as nickel, tin, and lead have been found in e-juice. This is likely because the e-liquid comes into contact with the metal coil used to heat the liquid into an aerosol.

Thousands of Flavours are marketed and sold for use in e-liquids.  Flavours in tobacco products were found to appeal to youth and this appears to be the case with vaping flavours. Flavouring chemicals carry their own health risks for the user. When some ingredients are heated they undergo chemical changes.  The Flavour and Extract Manufacturers Associations warns that their flavours were not designed to be heated and inhaled and state some flavours are known to cause respiratory damage. For example, saccharides are used to make e-liquid flavours that are sweet, but this ingredient can degrade and produce furans and aldehydes that are known to cause respiratory irritation. Cinnamaldehyde is used to make cinnamon flavoured e-liquid but has been shown to be toxic to living cells.  In laboratory research, some studies have shown that lung cells exposed to the vaping aerosol of e-liquids that include several flavour chemicals mixed together, appear to cause more damage than vaping aerosols with one flavour chemical.


Health Concerns for Youth


Youth who do not use tobacco are beginning to experiment with vaping believing that it is safer. Nicotine is highly addictive, especially for the growing teen brain. It may lead to difficulty concentrating, problems with impulse control and there is evidence that nicotine addiction can lead to use of other drugs. For more about the health concerns for youth and Nicotine, visit


Transition to Tobacco Cigarettes

The evidence is showing that vaping increases the risk of youth and young adults of ever using tobacco products. Also, there is moderate evidence showing that vaping increases the use and frequency of combustible tobacco products like cigarettes among youth and youth adults.



There is moderate evidence that vaping causes increased coughing and wheezing in youth. It also worsens asthma symptoms.


Dry Nose and Throat Irritation

One of the main ingredients in e-juice is called propylene glycol. It is a chemical that absorbs moisture. It can cause the sensitive lining of the nose to dry out. Bloody noses and throat irritation can also be a problem.


Dental Problems

Studies of online posts by vapers show one of their top complaints is a dry mouth.  Saliva helps wash away bacteria in the mouth. Over time, people who vape could be at increased risk for dental and oral problems. This includes periodontal disease or gum disease, which is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place.


Germs and Infectious Diseases

Sharing a vape? Then you are likely swapping some spit and maybe other nasty stuff! Cold and flu viruses, mono and the bacterium that causes strep throat (group A streptococcus) are all passed through saliva.


Nicotine Poisoning

Nicotine is a toxic substance and too much can lead to serious health issues and even death. Nicotine poisoning is a risk if the e-juice is ingested, touches skin or if too much is inhaled.

Small children are most at risk for nicotine poisoning. Just like other toxic substances, all e-juice and vaping products should be out of reach and locked up as the bright packaging and fruity flavours get the attention of small children. Know the signs of nicotine poisoning and get medical help right away if it is suspected.


Long-term Health Effects

Many of the toxic chemicals found in e-cigarettes have been linked to various types of cancer. The long-term health effects of vaping may not be known for many years. Those vaping may be putting the health of their heart, lungs and other organs at risk.


Allergic Reactions

The ingredients in e-juice can cause allergic reactions for some people. Signs or symptoms could be similar to other allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, hives, and feeling unwell.


Device Safety Concerns

There have been reports of explosions related to batteries in e-cigarettes and issues with charging cords.  Caution should be used with batteries, altering of products and use of charging cords.

Promotional Images


Promotion of Vaping

Vaping is now a multi-billion dollar industry and all major tobacco companies have vaping brands. JUUL alone is worth about $18 billion. Slick advertising, fruity flavours and messages that convey fun and safe are contributing to the growth of use among youth.

The advertising for e-cigarettes is very similar to the messages and themes used by the Tobacco Industry to make smoking seem normal or to make some products seem less harmful.

Youth are also allured into becoming reviewers of products in video reviews on platforms like youtube. These unofficial spokespeople do not always state that they have received money to review and even endorse a product. This increases the promotion of vaping among young people and it makes it appear more popular than it really is..


What is the situation?

There has been a dramatic increase in youth vaping in Canada.  Dr. David Hammond and colleagues conducted online research with youth aged 16-19 and found a dramatic increase in vaping for Canadian youth between Aug/Sept 2017 and Aug/Sept 2018.

During those two time periods, groups of youth from Canada, England and United States filled out online surveys about their use of tobacco cigarettes, vapes and cannabis. The youth reported whether they had ever vaped even once, in the past 30 days, in the past week or had vaped 15 days or more in the last 30 days.

In each of these categories, there was an increase in vaping by Canadian youth. In the first group of youth in 2017, 8.4% reported vaping in the last 30 days. In the group surveyed in 2018, this jumped to 14.6%. This research also showed an increase in cigarette smoking and cannabis use for these Canadian youth.

This seems to match what school staff, parents and public health staff in our region have experienced in recent months.  The increase took place over the time that vaping products with nicotine could legally be sold in Canada.  Starting in May 2018, many vaping brands came onto the market and were heavily promoted.

To read more about this research, visit

The Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey outlines recent data, but was collected and released prior to the legalization of nicotine in Canada.  


Starting the Conversation

Has your family talked about vaping?  What it means and the risks?  It’s a good idea to discuss substance use and how it can affect health and future goals. It’s good to be critical and practice thinking about the motivation of companies that sell these products – especially given the past history of tobacco companies, who now own vaping brands.  These resources will help get the conversation started:

Talking with your teen about vaping: 

Parents Matter:  Strategies for Parents to Prevent or Delay Alcohol and Other Drug Use

Government of Canada Vaping Information:



Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey

Public Health Ontario: Current Evidence on E-cigarettes:

Prevalence of vaping and smoking among adolescents in Canada, England, and the United States: repeat national cross sectional surveys:

Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes:

Canadian Dental Association:

Surgeon General Report on E-cigarettes:

Canadian Paediatric Society Position Statement on E-cigarettes:

Help to Quit Smoking and Vaping

Ready to Quit Vaping or Smoking?

Free programs and support are available. 

Quitting nicotine – it can be a challenge.  Having support and making a plan will help you be successful but it may take several tries, maybe more to quit for good. Slips are part of the journey. Just keeping trying because each time you quit, you will learn something new about what works for you. 

A note about vaping. The best thing to do to protect your health is to quit smoking and to quit vaping. Both cause long-term health effects.  It is best to use proven quit methods and approved health products such as Nicotine Replacement products.

Student Health Centres in Grey Bruce Schools

Student Health Centre

Book an appointment with a School Health Nurse at your school. They are available to provide:

  • quit support for vaping, smoking, or chew
  • healthy sexuality
  • 2SLGBTQ+ resources and support
  • healthy lifestyles
  • harm reduction education... and more!

To book an appointment at your school:


When you're ready to quit smoking or vaping, the Quash app will help you progress through each stage of your quit journey. Make a quit plan that works for you. Quash smoking or vaping!



Quit Vaping Challenge App

stop vaping challenge app

  •  Try to stop vaping for as long as they can with the help of a timer within the app tracking seconds, minutes, and hours.
  •  Key features of the app include a dedicated tab for inviting friends, tracking mood and cravings, recording photo and video memories, and finding appropriate local resources on quitting vaping. 
  •  Download it directly from your phone’s app store, or through the following links: Apple iOS devices | Android devices

Not An Experiment Quit Plan

  • Enter your quit date, triggers and more.
  • Create your quit plan and it will be emailed to you.

Text Support /Online Chat:

Smokers Helpline iQuit
Smokers Helpline 
  • Support to quit smoking or vaping
  • Text iQuit to the number 123456   
  • Online chat at
  • Call 1-877-513-5333 to speak with a quit coach and create a quitting plan.

Phone, chat and text support with Talk Tobacco

Talk Tobacco

Talk Tobacco is a free, confidential telephone service operated by the Canadian Cancer Society offering culturally appropriate support and information about quitting smoking, vaping and commercial tobacco use to Indigenous communities.

  • Call 1-833-998-8255 (TALK).
  • Hours of operation:  8am-9pm Monday to Thursday, 8am-6pm Friday,9am-5pm Saturday and Sunday

Online Chat or Phone Support

Lung Health Foundation

CHOICES Drug and Alcohol Counselling Program

Canadian Mental Health Association

  • The CHOICES program is for youth under 20 and their families in the Grey Bruce region.
  • Counsellors can meet students at school or in their office.
  • Call intake at 519-371-5487 or 1-800-265-3133 to make an appointment.
  • Visit CMHA Grey Bruce for more information

Healthcare provider or Family Health Team                                              

Make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Many Family Health Teams offer counselling to support quitting.  Also, many family health teams offer the STOP program which includes free nicotine replacement therapy. A doctor or nurse may be able to offer youth and young adults quit support and free Nicotine Replacement Therapy (nicotine patches, and/or gum to help manage cravings).



Quit plan & Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) Instructional Videos

Make a quit plan and learn how to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy

Self Help Resources  

Information about Quitting Vaping from

Resources to help you on your way.  (Information from U.S)

Rules and Laws about Vaping

  • School Boards in our region have policies that do not allow vaping in or on school property. This includes on school buses. Students could be suspended and have products confiscated for possessing vape products or use of vapes on school grounds.


  • The Smoke-Free Ontario Act 2017 also makes it illegal to use tobacco products, vaping products or cannabis products on or within 20 metres of school property.


  • It is illegal to share or supply someone under 19 with vaping products. Students could face fines for sharing, giving or selling vapes, e-juice, cigarettes or chewing tobacco whether they are on school property or not.


  • If you sell or supply a cigarette, vape or e-juice to someone less than 19 years of age, the fine is $490 (including court costs, victim surcharge, etc). 


  • If you smoke or use a vape in a prohibited place the fine is $305 (including court costs, victim surcharge, etc).  Examples of a prohibited place include within 20 metres of school property, within 20 metres of a playground, within 20 metres of a sports field, in a workplace or in workplace vehicle.  A school can is also considered a school bus. 



  • Unpaid tickets may be sent to collections by County officials. This could affect a person’s credit rating. 


  • Anyone under the age of 19 is not legally allowed to enter a “speciality vape store”. It is also illegal to sell vaping products to minors. Stores may be fined for selling to underage shoppers.


For more information, visit; How The Act Affects: Schools


Smoking and Vaping laws in Ontario:  What does it mean for students and school staff  - Infographic

Smoking and Vaping Laws in Ontario

Social Supply of Smokes - Bad Ways to be Nice

Family and friends need to stop being the go-to supplier for under-age smokers.

A friend or relative may think they are “just being nice” for buying, or giving cigarettes to a teenager. But setting someone up for an addiction, disease or even death is a “bad way to be nice.”

“Bad ways to be nice” is a campaign to help stop people from supplying tobacco products to teenagers.

Most underage smokers say they get their cigarettes from a “social source”, be it their parents, an older sibling, a relative or a friend.

Less than 10 per cent of tobacco retailers have sold to an underage smoker. That shows most teens are getting their cigarettes from those “social sources”.

Public Health wants anyone supplying tobacco products for a teen, to visit The website offers ideas for how to say no to requests for cigarettes.

Bad Ways to be Nice - Video 1

Bad Ways to be Nice - Video 2

Smoke Free Movies

According to the WHO’s most recent edition of its report Smoke-free Movies: From Evidence to Action, movies showing the use of tobacco products have enticed millions of young people worldwide to start smoking. This global report reaffirms research done by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit concluding that in Ontario alone, at least 185,000 children and teens will be recruited to smoking cigarettes from exposure to onscreen smoking.

Smoke-free Movies: From Evidence to Action - 3rd edition

Help make movies smoke-free, visit


Smoke Free Movies

Resources for Parents and Caregivers

Vaping can lead to nicotine dependence in youth. Nicotine is the addictive ingredient found in tobacco. It can change the teenage brain and affect memory and concentration. Some vape products can have more nicotine in a single pod as an entire pack of cigarettes. E-cigarettes that do not contain nicotine still have many harmful chemicals. Vaping may also have the potential to re-normalize smoking and can lead to youth starting to smoke.

It is important to talk to your children about vaping.

Vaping Information:

Vaping and COVID-19:

Tobacco Information:

Information and Resources For Teachers and Youth Allies

Are you a teacher or adult who supports children and youth?  You play an important role in engaging young people in discussions about vaping products and commercial tobacco products. 

It is important to understand the many factors that are associated with youth tobacco use.  

If you would like to gain a deeper understanding of youth tobacco and vaping use, visit the Digital Learning Centre of the Lung Association to complete an online learning module such as, “What the Vape!? Get to Know the E-cigarette Issue.” Also available to compete online at your own pace is the Quash Training for adult allies.  Even though you may not directly support a quit group, the training may be valuable for supporting teens you know in quitting vaping or smoking.


General Information:

Vaping and COVID-19:

Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources:

  • Not an Experiment  - Includes an Education Resource Package for teachers. A web-based health promotion initiative. Downloadable materials including an escape room activity support education partners in teaching youth and adults about vaping, the industry, the health effects and quit resources. A discussion guide reinforces key learnings and guides adults in engaging youth to take action and share learnings. “Take Action” tools are also provided. Grades 7-12.
  • Talking about Series (includes tobacco, vaping and cannabis) from the Lung Health Foundation Digital Learning Centre
  • Catch My Breath Vaping Prevention Lessons - Online platform with teacher training video, 4 lessons for each grade level from 6th to 9th grade. Now revised with Canadian information. Virtual learning support included. Speak to your principal about requesting a paid subscription available through your local public school board. For more information on this, call the Tobacco Youth Advisor at the Grey Bruce Health Unit or email Brooke Tomsett at 
  • Use Your Instincts Campaign
  • Denoble Files Video Playlist



General Information:

Lesson Plans and Teaching Resources:



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