VAPING IS A YOUTH EPIDEMIC

“We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.”

— U.S. Surgeon General

See why
78%

E-cig usage by high school students increased 78% between 2017-2018.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1 in 4 high school students
have used a tobacco product

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

4 out of 5 kids who have
used tobacco started with
a flavored product

American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Kids report vaping

as early as 12 years old

NBC

NICOTINE = BRAIN POISON

Flavors mask the harsh taste of tobacco which makes it easier for kids to smoke — and most kids don’t know that flavored e-cigarettes are high in nicotine.

Flavors

The tobacco industry is hooking the next generation of addicts, and flavors are a big way in. Four out of five kids who have used tobacco started with a flavored product.

Those numbers suggest that most underaged users might never have tried vaping if tobacco tasted like tobacco. From Juul’s popular mango to thousands of options available for Suorin and other open systems, flavors hook kids on a drug known to be as addictive as heroin.

Nicotine

The rise in teen vaping is finally news. But we need to know more about kids’ consumption of nicotine, such as how high the doses, and how great the risks.

Modern devices can have up to 6x the nicotine concentration of first generation e-cigs, putting kids at risk of not only a nicotine addiction, but substance addiction of all kinds.

Poison

Nicotine is one of the most toxic of all poisons. It can rewire the brain, particularly vulnerable in the developing years, from adolescence to mid-twenties. In what ways?

Nicotine changes the teen brain and affects attention, learning, and memory. It can worsen stressors already challenging in adolescence: impulsivity, learning difficulties, irritability, anxiety and mood swings. But unlike other adolescent phases, changes to the brain from nicotine can be permanent.

HOW TO IDENTIFY FLAVORED PRODUCTS

Know what to look for. Nicotine products have become almost unrecognizable. Familiarize yourself with the drug’s new delivery systems. You can’t stop it if you can’t spot it.

Know The Signs

  • Do you notice artificial smells from behind closed doors like candy, popcorn, vanilla, or fruit flavoring?
  • Are there school supplies or tech products you don’t recognize in kids’ backpacks or rooms? How about small vials or eye dropper bottles?
  • Have you come across unfamiliar chargers, coils, or batteries?
  • Have there been changes in your kids’ behavior such as increased mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or impulsivity?
  • Are your kids suffering from more frequent headaches or nausea?

While California State Law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21, kids still manage to get it.

Here are six common ways:

  • Vape products are all over social media, and many promote the sale of their products right from their accounts.
  • Website age gates are easily bypassed, and kids use a parent’s name for shipping. In fact, kids successfully buy e-cigs online 94% of the time.*
  • Clerks at tobacco shops, vape stores, gas stations and convenience stores might not enforce the California Tobacco 21 law, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years of age.  
  • Many vape companies have names that wouldn’t raise a red flag on parents’ credit card statements.
  • Online orders can be delivered to Amazon lockers in supermarkets or convenience stores.
  • Orders can also be shipped to the homes where parent(s) are at work when the mail comes.
  • Kids are buying and selling pods, and even single hits, in schools.

START THE CONVERSATION

Here's what Californians are saying about the vaping epidemic.

THE GUIDE

Steps to end the youth epidemic

  • How to talk to kids

  • What to do if your teen is addicted

  • How to get schools on board

  • Ten quick facts about nicotine and adolescence

  • Activities to do with teens

Download the Guide

Voice Your Concern

Send an email, make a difference.

Reaching out to your mayor can create change. Enter your name, choose your city, and we’ll connect you to the right email to make sure your letter makes the most impact.

I'm living in

Dear Mayor

I’m writing because I am concerned about the tobacco industry’s use of flavors to hook kids on nicotine. As you may already know, tobacco companies don’t stop at flavors. They also use tech-inspired devices and kid-friendly packaging to lure kids into vaping nicotine. This, coupled with unchecked online purchasing, gets harmful tobacco products past parents and teachers and straight into the hands of kids.

The tobacco industry’s use of flavors as a stealthy nicotine delivery method is very strategic, as it targets the age group most susceptible to addiction. The youth in our area face enough challenges in this time of their development. We should be setting them up for success, not saddling them with addiction that could torment them all their lives and spread well beyond nicotine. They deserve better.

I ask for your leadership in addressing how we can keep our kids safe from an industry determined to do them harm.

Thank you for your leadership in the fight to keep our kids safe from tobacco industry targeting. I’m so grateful that our city has banned flavored tobacco products, and is helping to keep kids safe from the neurological risks of nicotine.

But underage vaping continues to grow and marketing of these products to youth remains unregulated. I hope more people will work toward reversing the rise in teen vaping, and give California kids the chance to live out their childhoods nicotine-free.

Sincerely,

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