An e-cigarette, or vape pen, is an electronic device that heats a pod of liquid to form vapors that the user can inhale, thus the name “vaping.” These devices heat up various flavorings, nicotine, marijuana, and several other potentially harmful substances. Using these vape pens is becoming common, especially among teenagers. There is a continuing growing body of evidence that show that smoking e-cigarettes and vaping may be even more dangerous than smoking cigarettes. While the full extent of how harmful vape pens is unknown, what is known shows that vaping can be extremely harmful.

Although smoking tobacco has long been linked to cancer, the health risks from vaping are just beginning to be understood. One thing that is known about e-cigarettes is that they contain dangerous chemicals. An FDA analysis of e-cigarettes found samples that contained hazardous chemicals like carcinogens, and even diethylene glycol, a compound found in antifreeze. E-cigarettes and vape pens were touted to be a healthier option than cigarettes, yet people still inhale several dangerous chemicals that harm their body. Among inhaling dangerous chemicals, vaping can have negative effects on developing brains.

Some brands of e-cigarettes have high levels of nicotine, almost twice as much found in cigarettes. Teenagers and kids’ brains are more susceptible to addiction, and even those who have yet to start vaping are in danger. Being around parents and friends who vape leaves others in danger of secondhand vaping, which includes nicotine. Nicotine mixed with developing brains lead to addiction, reduced impulse control, and mood disorders. The addictive substance also negatively impacts the area of the brain responsible for attention, judgement, and planning. While the world is still learning about the full extent of the dangers vaping poses, the misconceptions surrounding vaping teenagers have are concerning.

While some kids know better, there is a common misconception amongst them that vaping is harmless, especially since the pods can in a variety of kid-friendly favors. Whoever created the shape for the JUUL knew what they were doing, as it can be easily concealed in a pocket or hand, limiting the possibility of kids getting caught using one. Being small and easily concealed has allowed the device to be favored as it can be done indoors. Vaping has become quite common, and kids are exposed constantly by either classmates or images of celebrities vaping, making it seem like “the cool thing to do.” It is vitally important for parents to talk with their kids about the dangers of vaping and the harm it does to their body.

More and more teenagers are using e-cigarettes and vape pens that were believed to be the ‘healthier’ option cigarettes when they were first released. While the exact dangers these devices poses in unknown, vaping still puts users at risk of dangerous chemicals and highly addictive substances.