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the facts on e-cigarette use among youth and young adults

E-cigarettes and Youth Don't Mix

Adolescent years are times of important brain development. Brain development begins during the growth of the fetus in the womb and continues through childhood and to about age 25. Nicotine exposure during adolescence and young adulthood can cause addiction and harm the developing brain.

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Nicotine affects brain development, which continues to age 25.
 
 

Trends

E-cigarettes are very popular with young people. Their use has grown dramatically in the last five years. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.

Line graph showing growth in e-cigarette use among high school students, all students, and middle school students. Past 30-day use of e-cigarettes by high school students was 1.5% in 2011 and 16% in 2015. Past 30-day use of e-cigarettes by all students in grades 6 through 12 was 1.1% in 2011 and 11.3% in 2015. Past 30-day use of e-cigarettes by middle school students was 0.6% in 2011 and 5.3% in 2015. High school students have the highest growth in e-cigarette use.
Line graph showing growth in e-cigarette use among high school students, all students, and middle school students. High school students have the highest growth in e-cigarette use

Health Risks of E-cigarettes

The Office of the Surgeon General shares an important message about the possible dangers of e-cigarette use by young people.

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No matter how it's delivered, nicotine is addictive and harmful for youth and young adults.

E-cigarettes Are Unsafe for Young People

No matter how it's delivered, nicotine is harmful for youth and young adults. E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine as well as other chemicals that are known to damage health. For example, users risk exposing their respiratory systems to potentially harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes. Read about these and other risks young people face if they use e-cigarettes.

In 2015, 1 in 6 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past month.

Prevention

Talk with Your Kids

You can influence your children's decision about whether to use e-cigarettes. Even if you have used tobacco yourself, your children will listen if you discuss your struggles with nicotine addiction. Be clear that you don't approve of them smoking or using e-cigarettes, and that you expect them to live tobacco-free.

Use CDC's Parent Tip Sheet to help you talk with your children. This tip sheet offers facts and practical ways to start conversations with young people about the risks of e-cigarette use.

Take Action about Brain Risks

Share with Friends and Family

E-cigarettes are relatively new products and many people don't know much about them. For example, many young people don't know that most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Share information from this website with your friends and family so they can learn the facts about e-cigarettes.

Take Action about addiction

Learn More

You can find many resources that discuss e-cigarette use among young people on this website. For general information on tobacco products, visit cdc.gov/tobacco. For information about Surgeon General's reports visit surgeongeneral.gov.

Take Action about Aerosol Exposure

 

Please contact us at SGReports@cdc.gov if you have questions about the report or content on this site.