Emphasize Risks of Vaping and Help Kids and Teens Stop

Efforts will ramp up to stop kids and teens from using e-cigarettes (Juul, etc)...as reports about harms continue to grow.

Over 1 in 4 high schoolers report using e-cigs in the last month.

Now CDC is investigating hundreds of cases of severe lung disease related to e-cigs or vaping...many in teens or young adults.

There are also reports of "lipoid pneumonia"...possibly from aspirating oils from e-cig liquids with THC bought off the street.

And some patients have died from lung injury related to e-cigs.

Be clear and direct with teens when talking about e-cig risks.

Explain that one "pod" can have more nicotine than a PACK of cigarettes. Nicotine is very addictive...impacts mood and attention in kids...and may act as a gateway to other substance use.

Caution that e-cigs contain potentially harmful chemicals...such as propylene glycol, formaldehyde, and lead. For example, diacetyl in some e-cigs is linked to "popcorn lung"...with irreversible lung scarring.

Ask teens if they vape or "Juul"...just as you'd ask about tobacco or alcohol use...at every opportunity, such as during a sports physical or acute care visit. Emphasize never starting...or quitting if needed.

Don't jump to smoking cessation meds. There's little evidence they help teens quit smoking...and no good evidence for "vaping cessation."

Instead share commonsense approaches with teens and parents.

For example, advise setting a quit date...avoiding situations that trigger vaping...and getting support from friends and family.

Recommend tools that teens may use...such as texting "QUIT" to 47848 (IQUIT) or using the quitSTART app. Both are free from the Nat'l Cancer Institute...and give advice tailored to the patient's age.

Expect more changes...such as a push for FDA to ban flavored e-cigs.

Explore our chart, E-Cigarette and Vaping FAQs, to learn more about risks...and for other resources to help teens quit.

Key References

  • BMJ 2019;366:l5228
  • www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html (09-18-19)
  • www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html (09-18-19)
  • Drug Alcohol Depend 2019;201:85-93
Prescriber's Letter. October 2019, No. 351002

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