Vaping products (also known as e-cigarettes, vape pens, vapes, mods, tanks, vapourizers or e-hookahs) are battery-operated devices that change a liquid chemical (e-liquid) into an aerosol that is inhaled. They can resemble pens, USB sticks, cigarettes, cigars, pipes and everyday items. The act of using a vaping product is called “vaping”. Vaping products can also be used to vapourize solutions that include cannabis or tobacco.
The solution (e-liquid, e-juice, juice) can consist of nicotine, water, added flavours and propylene glycol or glycerol.
Vaping products generally have three parts: an atomizer (contains the heating element), a battery, and a cartridge or “tank” that contains a solution to be heated.
Public Health concerns with vaping
- Vaping can lead to nicotine addiction.
- There is limited research on the safety and long-term health effects of vapour products.
- Aerosol produced from a vaping product can contain harmful chemicals and heavy metals (external link). Even without nicotine or cannabis, it is not harmless water vapour.
- Flavours that are added to vaping products may not be safe for breathing into your lungs.
- Vaping products are not a proven aid to quit smoking. Learn more about proven quit smoking supports (external link).
- Health Canada (external link) recommends that people who do not smoke, especially youth, young adults, pregnant women and those planning to become pregnant, should not use vaping products and should avoid exposure to second-hand aerosol.
- Canadians should not use vaping products obtained illegally, including any vaping products that contain cannabis.
- While rare, defective vaping products (especially batteries) can catch fire or explode, leading to burns and injuries.
Facts about youth and vaping
- Vaping product use is growing rapidly among youth. Between 2017 and 2018, the percentage of Canadian youth having ever used a vaping product increased from 29 per cent to 37 per cent.
- Vaping products that contain nicotine are unsafe for youth whose developing brains are more vulnerable to addiction. Children and youth may become dependent on nicotine more rapidly than adults.
- Nicotine use at a young age can make it harder to learn, concentrate or control impulses.
- Research shows that youth who use vaping products are more likely to start smoking cigarettes or use other tobacco products.
For curriculum support and resources on vaping for schools, contact the school years program at the Halton Region Health Department:
How to talk to youth about vaping
- Know the facts. Educate yourself about vaping so you can talk about it with your children.
- Help your kids plan ahead for social situations where vaping will most likely be offered. Talk about how to avoid use and say no.
- Encourage open conversations. This may be many small conversations over time. Try to find a natural time to discuss vaping, for example when you see someone using vaping products.
- Ask your kids if they are vaping. Be patient, ready to listen and avoid criticizing.
- Ask for support if needed from a health care provider or another trusted adult.
- Be a positive role model; don’t use tobacco or vaping products.
Talking with Your Teen About Vaping: A Tip Sheet for Parents (external PDF)
Vaping and the law
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act does not allow:
- vaping of any substance (including medical cannabis) in any enclosed workplace, any enclosed public place or any other place designated as vape-free in the Act;
- the sale and supply of vapour products to anyone under 19 years of age (including e-liquid as well as all associated components);
- vaping when a person under the age of 16 is in a motor vehicle;
- those under the age of 19 to enter specialty vape stores; and
- the promotion of vaping products in convenience stores and gas stations (as of January 1, 2020).
Electronic smoking unit with refillable cartridge and e-liquid.