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Whether they’re called vape pens or e-cigarettes, vaping devices all work in a similar way. They heat liquid into a vapor that the user inhales or “smokes.” Some e-cigarettes resemble pipes or regular cigarettes; others look like pens or USB flash drives. Vaping products were designed to help cigarette users gradually quit smoking. However, they have become extremely popular, particularly among young people.

Vaping liquid usually contains nicotine, flavoring, and other additives. Some products also contain THC, the chemical in marijuana that produces a high. The flavorings in these products range from fruit flavors and sweets to menthol. Sweet flavors make them especially attractive to teens, who may abuse e-cigarettes.

The Ingredients of Vaping Liquid can be Harmful

There are side effects and a risk of lung damage associated with vaping products. Nicotine, even when it’s dressed up in sweet flavors, is highly addictive. Beyond nicotine or THC, these products often contain other potentially harmful ingredients, including:

  • Extremely fine particles that can be inhaled into the lungs
  • Flavorings that contain diacetyl, a chemical linked to lung disease
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Heavy metals, such as lead and chromium

Inhaling these ingredients can be risky, and users may experience severe side effects, including damage to the lungs and negative effects on oral health. Over time, users may be at increased risk of stroke, heart disease, or lung cancer.

Vaping might seem like a less risky choice than smoking or using marijuana, but it’s still not recommended, especially if the user is young.

Call the Missouri Poison Center if You or Someone You Know Has Questions about Vaping

If you are concerned that your child is vaping, or if you have questions about safe usage, call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. Our specially trained nurses, pharmacists, and medical toxicologist can give you potentially life-saving information.

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