Consider the Consequences of Vaping
"I vape and I started for fun, but I am definitely addicted now. I can't go a full class without thinking about it." - Grade 11 studentFootnote *
"I quit vaping to show my boyfriend he could too." - Grade 11 studentFootnote *
"I didn't realize it was that bad at first. I thought it was harmless" - Grade 10 studentFootnote *
So, what's up with vaping?
Vaping has risks and the long-term health effects of vaping are unknown. Youth and non-smokers should not vape. Vaping is a less harmful option only for people who are already smoking if they quit smoking and switch completely. Less harmful doesn't mean harmless. We're here to give you the facts about vaping so you can make informed decisions.
Vaping can lead to nicotine addiction
Vaping can deliver nicotine to your body, causing you to crave it more and more, leading to addiction and physical dependence. In teens, vaping nicotine can also alter brain development.
Vaping can expose you to harmful chemicals and metals
Vaping can expose you to harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde and acrolein, and metals and contaminants like nickel, tin and aluminum. You don't want any of these in your lungs! Vaping can cause lung damage.
The long-term health impacts of vaping are unknown
Some of the chemicals found in vaping liquid, like vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol, are safe for use in products like cosmetics and sweeteners but the long-term safety of inhaling these substances is unknown and continues to be assessed. Why risk it?
Get the answers to your vaping questions here
Dealing with peer pressure
"Most of my friends started vaping because of peer pressure." - Grade 9 studentFootnote *
We've heard from teenagers that they are often faced with difficult situations in which you may feel pressured to try something you are not comfortable with. These pressures can stem from:
- School stress
- Home life and responsibilities
- Family pressure
- Social media
- The desire to fit in and feel accepted by your friends
Not only are you faced with the stress of everyday life, but you are also faced with trying to make good choices about your school, your future, and your health.
Did you know that peer pressure is one of the most common reasons why so many youth said they started to vape, and the majority of teenagers who tried vaping did it with othersFootnote 1? Many youth think that vaping for the first time is not risky because people around them do it, but don't be fooled into vaping. It's not harmless. Get the facts from a credible source, yes, like Health Canada and learn about the harms and risks of vaping.
"I started vaping last year because of peer pressure and I really don't enjoy it. I do look forward to quitting." - Grade 11 studentFootnote *
Before you are in a situation where you might be pressured to try vaping, it's helpful to make a plan and think-through what you'd say, or do. This exercise can help you craft a way to refuse vaping in a way that makes you most comfortable.
Here are some helpful tips to consider before you are in a situation where there could be peer pressure to vape:
It's ok to say "no thanks, I'm not interested"
Turn down the offer to vape and if you are uncomfortable afterwards then you always have the option to walk away. With you taking a stand and leading the way, other people might follow you as well. Be proud of your decision. The ability to stand up for yourself and your choices can help you when you are in uncomfortable or pressured situations with friends or peers.
Ask them questions
Your peers may pressure you to vape, and asking them questions can make it easier to say no. Questions like: "Why do you vape?", "How long have you vaped?", "Are you aware of the risks?", "Why did you start?", or "Do you plan on quitting?"; can help steer the conversation and provide more reasons to turn it down. Facts from a credible source can be slipped into a friendly conversation.
Blame your parents!
They want you to make the best choices, and if that means blaming them to avoid peer pressure, go for it. Saying things like "I can't," or "It's not worth it, I'd be in so much trouble if my parents found out I vaped," or "Sorry, I can't, I'm grounded and have to go home," may allow you to avoid the situation.
Create a code word with your parents
If you anticipate an uncomfortable situation at a party or get together where you may be pressured to try things you don't want, having a code word with your parents can help you avoid these situations without your friends knowing. Call or text your parents with this code word to let them know that you need an excuse to leave or come home.
Hangout with friends who share your values
Having a trusted circle of friends who do not vape can help you be true to your values and choices and avoid peer pressure. Spend time with friends who back you up when you say "no" and who you can trust not to pressure you.
Talk to a trusted adult
Talking to an adult you trust (your parents, a teacher or coach, a faith leader) can allow you to ask questions about vaping and understand the facts in a safe, non-judgemental environment. A supportive adult can help you make an informed choice about vaping and how to handle peer pressure.
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions by Youth, which provides answers to a number of questions you may have about vaping risks, vaping and brain development, and more.
Learn more about vaping
Discover the mechanics of a vaping device and what's inside vaping liquids and substances
Learn about the chemicals in vaping products and how they can impact your health
Learn more about vaping as a less harmful source of nicotine for those who smoke
Get tips on how to talk with teens about vaping
Learn more about the online self-led module
Download and order material to help raise awareness of the consequences of vaping for youth
- Footnote *
Please note that the testimonials were received as part of the experiential events tour that traveled to high schools across Canada.
- Footnote 1
Report: Exploratory Research on Youth Vaping (https://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/200/301/pwgsc-tpsgc/por-ef/health/2020/069-19-e/index.html)
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