A vape is an electronic device that simulates smoking and uses a liquid containing nicotine, flavorings and other chemicals to produce aerosols for inhalation. It is also called an e-cigarette or an e-cig, and it can look like a regular cigarette or even a USB flash drive. It contains a sensor, an atomizer and a cartridge that holds the liquid. It’s battery-powered and turns the vapor into small particles that can be inhaled. The liquids in most vapes contain nicotine, and the process is known as “vaping.”
Nicotine reaches the brain within 10 seconds and triggers a surge of dopamine. It is addictive and can make you want to vape more and more. It can also affect the brain and make it harder to learn and concentrate. Studies show that nicotine changes the way your body behaves, which makes it harder to control your behavior. It is important to talk to the teens and other young people in your life about the risks of vaping.
The most important step is to avoid smoking and vaping altogether. It’s easier to quit when you have the support of your family, friends and health care providers. The more you know about the harms of vaping and how to quit, the better choices you can make.
A growing number of teenagers are using vapes, and the trend seems likely to continue. Some of the growth is due to aggressive marketing targeted at youth. A survey by the CDC found that 1 in 5 high school students used a vape in the previous month. Vapes are easy to use, come in lots of different colors and flavors, and are less expensive than traditional cigarettes. The FDA began cracking down on makers of vapes in 2019, banning many flavors and requiring manufacturers to submit applications to keep their products on the market. The move was criticized by some, including the head of the American Vapor Manufacturers Association, who warned that the denials would give rise to black market producers and leave consumers exposed to unregulated devices that may pose health risks.
Other dangers include lung damage, breathing problems and addiction. The vapor produced by vapes contains harmful chemicals and tiny (ultrafine) particles that can get into deep lung tissue. It can also contain carcinogens, such as acetaldehyde and formaldehyde; chemicals that cause breathing problems, such as diacetyl and acetoacetate; and heavy metals, like nickel, tin and lead.
There are also safety concerns, such as explosions when the batteries in vape devices heat up too quickly. There have been injuries and property damage when batteries catch fire or explode. There are also reports of second-hand exposure to nicotine and other chemicals when people vape near others. There are also reports of children being poisoned by the chemicals in some vapes.