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Addicting Kids

E-cigarettes: Tobacco industry’s gateway to addiction

Published Apr 11, 2022
Two young girls smoking a vape

The tobacco industry is betting big on e-cigarettes to hook its next generation of customers on nicotine, working hard to mislead people that vaping products, such as e-cigarettes, are harmless. That is just not true.

To start, most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. In fact, a single Juul pod can contain as much nicotine as one pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs.1

It’s unlikely that the teens who are using these products understand how much nicotine they are ingesting.2 Aside from being what makes tobacco products addictive, nicotine itself is harmful – so toxic that it was once used as an insecticide.3 Nicotine is especially dangerous for youth – it can permanently damage the teen brain.4

In addition, e-cigarettes contain toxic chemicals with health risks we are only beginning to understand. For example, chemicals found in e-liquid may impair the heart’s ability to pump blood.5 Diacetyl, a chemical found in many e-juices, is linked to a dangerous respiratory disease known as popcorn lung.6

But the health risks of e-cigarettes are just one part of the story. The tobacco industry’s plan? Get young people hooked on products with enticing flavors and cool tech that mask their real danger. And it’s working – more and more kids who wouldn’t otherwise use a tobacco product are using e-cigarettes7 – it’s the most common tobacco product used among high school students.8

Don’t be fooled – the tobacco industry’s only goal is to get as many people as possible addicted to a deadly product. To learn more visit FlavorsHookKids.org.

  1. Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. JUUL and Youth: rising E-Cigarette Popularity. tobaccofreekids.org. Published December 20, 2018. Accessed March 19, 2019.
  2. Willett JG, Bennett M, Hair EC, Xiao H et al. Recognition, use and perceptions of JUUL among youth and young adults. Tob Control. 2019;28(1):115-116. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054273.
  3. American Chemical Society. Tobacco and its evil cousin nicotine are good as a pesticide [press release]. acs.org. Published October 27, 2010. Accessed April 16, 2019.
  4. Yuan, Menglu, Cross, Sarah J., et al. Nicotine and the adolescent brain, J Physiol. 2015 Aug 15; 593(Pt 16): 3397-3412.
  5. Nystoriak MA, Kilfoil PJ, Lorkiewicz PK, Conklin DJ, Bhatnagar A. Abstract 20782: Arrhythmic Risk Evaluation of Native and Combusted Tobacco Flavor Additives in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes, Circulation. 2017;136(suppl_1).
  6. Allen JG, Flanigan SS, LeBlanc M, et al. Flavoring Chemicals in E-Cigarettes: Diacetyl, 2,3 Pentanedione, and Acetoin in a Sample of 51 Products, Including Fruit-, Candy-, and Cocktail-Flavored E-Cigarettes. Environ Health Perspect. 2015;124(6):733-9.
  7. Barrington-Trimis JL, Urman R, Leventhal AM, et al. E-cigarettes, cigarettes and the prevalence of adolescent tobacco use. Pediatrics. 2016; 138(2): e201539883. Doi: 10.154/peds.2015-3983.
  8. California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program. California Tobacco Fact and Figures 2018. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Public Health; 2018.

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Hold the industry accountable

California has already protected people from other harmful products, and it's time to hold the tobacco industry to the same standards.