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Youth Vaping:

A Parent's Toolkit

Learn what vaping is, what it looks like, and how to have a conversation with the youth in your life.

Vaping Supplies

So what's the big deal?

E-cigarette use among young people has reached epidemic levels in Summit County, the State of Colorado and the U.S.


More than one in four teens in Colorado have vaped in the last month, the highest recorded use in the nation.

More than 60 percent of students in Summit County believe it would be very easy to get e-cigarettes, and nearly one fourth have used one in the past 30 days.

And nearly half have experimented with it.

What is vaping?

Most e-cigarettes consist of four parts:

  • a cartridge or reservoir or pod, which holds a liquid solution (e-liquid or e-juice) containing varying amounts of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals

  • a heating element (atomizer)

  • a power source (usually a battery)

  • a mouthpiece that the person uses to inhale

Puffing activates the battery-powered heating device, which vaporizes the liquid in the cartridge. The person then inhales the resulting aerosol, or vapor. 

What is vaping
Why You Should Care

Why does 
it matter?

Vaping is claimed as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, but that is simply not true. 

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can: 

  • Harm brain development, which continues until about age 25. 

  • Impact learning, memory, and attention. 

  • Increase risk for future addiction to other drugs. 


Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to go on to use regular cigarettes. 


  • Many e-cigarettes come in kid-friendly flavors – including mango, fruit, and crème – which make e-cigarettes more appealing to young people. 

    • 81% of youth have started with a flavored product

  • E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. It can contain harmful substances, including: 

    • Nicotine 

    • Cancer-causing chemicals 

    • Volatile organic compounds 

    • Ultrafine particles 

    • Flavorings that have been linked to lung disease 

    • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead

Students During Break

Did you know?

Colorado leads the nation in youth vaping.

What do they look like?

Now that you know what vaping is and its harmful effects, it's important that you know what it looks like.

Many e-cigarettes look like other items commonly used by youth, such as pens and other everyday items. New e-cigarettes shaped like USB flash drives are popular among youth, including JUUL and the PAX Era, which look like JUUL and delivers marijuana. 

Some vaping devices are much more concealable than others.

The images below show vaping devices disguised as a Sharpie, part of a sweatshirt, and a smartwatch.

What They Look Like

What you can do to help:

As a parent or caregiver, you have an important role in protecting children from e-cigarettes. 

Talk to your child or teen about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them.

It’s never too late.


Set a good example by being tobacco-free.

Talk to them about healthy alternatives to deal with stress.


Not sure how to get the conversation started?

We get it. Starting a conversation about vaping can be uncomfortable. Here are some helpful tips on how to connect with the youth in your life

Talk with Your Teen About E-cigarettes: A Tip Sheet for Parents

A guide on how to start to conversation, keep it going, and knowing what to expect. 

Should I Talk to My Kids About Vaping?

Know when the appropriate time to start to conversation is. 

Getting Candid: Framing the Conversation Around Youth Substance Prevention

A comprehensive guide on how to start to conversation, understanding the motivation, the "do's and don'ts" of talking to youth, and establishing trust. 

Starting the Conversation




This is a part of an anti-vaping and tobacco succession campaign with Summit County, Colorado. Part of our campaign is targeted at youth using real stories told from their peers in Summit County, called "Vaping Sucks." Check it out below:

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