Information for Teens about Vaping and Smoking

Vaping and Youth

Vaping and concerns for teens

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

Mechanics of Vaping – Health Canada Video

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.

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

Most e-liquids include a mixture of:

  • propylene glycol
  • vegetable glycerin
  • nicotine
  • flavour ingredients

Once heated, e-liquids (e-juice) contain a number of chemical compounds that are known to be harmful to human health. Some of these are the same ones found in tobacco cigarettes:

  • acrylonitrile
  • acrolein
  • propylene oxide
  • acrylamide
  • crotonaldehyde

Metals such as nickel, tin, and lead have also been found in vaping aerosol.

Flavour ingredients in vaping liquids are also a concern. 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-juice flavours that are sweet, but this ingredient can degrade and produce furans and aldehydes that are known to cause respiratory irritation.

Health Concerns for Youth


Vaping 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.

The Breath of Stress Air Campaign explains the process of addiction and impact on mental health.  Watch Ethan as he explains the impact of vaping on his mood:

Hear Ethan's story about why he quit vaping - YouTube

Other health concerns include


Dry Nose and Throat Irritation

Dental Problems

Germs and Infectious Diseases

Nicotine Poisoning

Long-term Health Effects

Allergic Reactions


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.

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


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:


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