Vaping and E-cigarettes

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What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes – also called electronic cigarettes, e-cigs, vapes, mods, tanks, or vape pens – are battery-powered devices that heat an e-liquid or e-juice. E-liquids are chemical solutions that come in different flavours with varying levels of nicotine. 

The heated e-liquid turns into an aerosol. Vaping is the act of inhaling the aerosol.

E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Some have cartridges that can be refilled with e-liquid, and others have disposable e-liquid pods. E-cigarette devices can also be used to deliver cannabis and other substances.

Health Effects

Vaping is not harmless, and research is beginning to show the impacts it can have on your health:

  • Vaping even for a short time can cause problems such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain, mouth or throat irritation, headache, dizziness, light headedness, and nausea.
  • Vaping with nicotine is addictive. For some brands of e-liquid, just one pod can contain the same amount of nicotine as 20 cigarettes.
  • Vaping with nicotine during adolescence can impact the brain, which continues to develop until approximately age 25. It can negatively impact learning, memory, concentration, and attention. It may worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduce impulse control, and cause behavioural problems.
  • Vaping can expose a person to harmful chemicals. The heating process involved in vaping causes the formation of new chemicals like formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acrolein, which can cause lung disease and heart disease. Metal contaminants like nickel, tin, and aluminum from the vaping products can also get into the vapour. Vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are the main liquids in vaping products and, while they are considered safe to eat, these ingredients have not been tested to see if they are safe to breathe in.
  • Sharing e-cigarettes can spread viruses and infections.
  • Vaping could increase the chances of a young person starting to smoke tobacco cigarettes. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada.
  • Some long-term health effects of vaping may still be unknown.

For people who smoke tobacco cigarettes, completely switching to vaping may reduce the number of toxins and cancer-causing chemicals you are exposed to. However, dual use (i.e., vaping and continuing to smoke) does not result in any health benefits. Find evidence-based resources to support you in quitting smoking.

Vaping Laws

Vaping in certain places is against the law. One of these places is on or within 20 metres of school property. Vaping on or near school property can result in a minimum $305 fine.

Providing vape products to youth under the age of 19 can also result in a fine of $490. This includes youth who share vape products with underage friends.

Parent Resources

Being available is the most important thing you can do help your child make positive decisions around vaping and other substance use. You can help make sure your child understands the laws and facts about vaping. Find tips on starting the conversation:

Teaching Resources

Educators can find a variety of classroom resources in English and French to support student learning related to vaping and promote healthy behaviours.

Quit Vaping Resources

Visit this page to find resources to support you in your goal of becoming vape-free. Service providers can also find resources to support clients or youth.

Mental Health Resources

Some people use vaping to cope with feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. While nicotine may temporarily relieve symptoms of withdrawal (caused by nicotine in the first place), over time it can worsen feelings of anxiety and depression. Visit this page for effective everyday actions, strategies and resources to help improve and maintain mental health.

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