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SPARK Parenting: What Parents need to know about E-cigarettes.

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

Vape or vaping refers to "Smoking" and e-cigarette. The liquid can contain nicotine or marijuana distillate or oil. It can be refillable or pre-filled with cartridges containing the e-liquid.

What are e-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that come in many forms. They all heat liquids, called e-liquids, into an aerosol that users breathe in. They may contain nicotine, flavorings and a range of harmful and toxic chemicals. Many e-liquids come in flavors that are attractive to young people, such as mango, lime and mint. The e-cigarette heat may also produce toxic substances.

They are also known as e-cigs, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENNDS), alternative nicotine delivery systems (ANDS), personal vaporisers, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes and juuls (pronounced ‘jewels’).

Using e-cigarettes is often called ‘vaping’. It is sometimes referred to as ‘juuling’.

What do e-cigarettes look like?

E-cigarette devices come in many different shapes and sizes. They can look like traditional

cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Some look everyday items commonly used by young people, such as pens or memory sticks (USBs). Some are even disguised as medical devices or concealed within clothing.

Are e-cigarettes and e-liquids safe?

The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has not safety tested e-cigarettes or e-liquids, so they should not be considered a safe product.

These products are not regulated in Australia and are often purchased online, meaning they can be made anywhere, by anyone and contain anything.

Know the e-cigarettes and their risk from kids health information

Parents we need to know if our child is starting to use vapes not just at home but most importantly in their schools and other environments.

With that we need to know the Health Risk of Vaping to our children.


E-cigarettes contain nicotine, a drug that’s highly addictive. You don’t have to vape every day to get addicted.

Anxiety and Depression

Nicotine makes anxiety and depression worse. It also affects memory, concentration, self-control, and attention, especially in developing brains.

Depression & anxiety symptoms linked to vaping nicotine and THC in teens and young adults American Heart Association Epidemiology, Prevention, Lifestyle & Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2023, Abstract 602

Becoming a smoker

Young people who vape are more likely to start smoking regular (tobacco) cigarettes and may be more likely to develop other addictions in the future.

Sleep Problems

One possible effect is on your sleep. In a recent study published using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers found the correlation. The questionnaire asked participants about their electronic cigarette use, hours of sleep and other variables known to be associated with quality and quantity of sleep.

For those who had never used an e-cigarette product, they were more likely to exhibit proper levels of sleep duration compared to those who did vape. In fact, electronic cigarette use was associated with higher odds of shorter sleep duration. Sleep duration is a major factor for proper body function and repair. That means the more you vape, the worse your sleep outcomes will be, which can harm your overall health and well-being.

Lung Damage

Instead of bathing lung tissue with a therapeutic mist, just as a nebulizer does, vaping coats lungs with potentially harmful chemicals. E-liquid concoctions usually include some mix of flavorings, aromatic additives and nicotine or THC (the chemical in marijuana that causes psychological effects), dissolved in an oily liquid base. “We think that some of the vaporized elements of the oil are getting deep down into the lungs and causing an inflammatory response,” explains Broderick.

How Do I Know if My Child Is Vaping?

Start by asking your child in a nonjudgmental, concerned way if they have tried vaping. You want to encourage conversation, not shut it down. Even if you don’t think your kids vape, talk about it with them anyway so they know it’s unhealthy.

Signs of vaping include:

  • new health issues such as coughing or wheezing

  • e-cigarette supplies, like cartridges or other suspicious looking items

  • new smells (some flavorings are banned, but others are in nicotine and marijuana vapes — so parents might notice fruity or sweet scents)

Recommendations for parents

As a parent and caregiver, you have an important role in protecting children from e-cigarettes. The best way to protect your children is to never smoke or vape in the house, car or other places where there may be children nearby. Passive exposure to e-cigarette vapour can be damaging for children and young people.

Parents should learn about e-cigarettes. It’s important to talk to your teen about the health risks of e-cigarettes. Many teenagers are under the misconception that e-cigarettes are safe. It is helpful to know what the different devices look like and the different words young people may use to describe using e-cigarettes. This will help you to talk about e-cigarettes with your teen.

Finally, if you are an e-cigarette user, always keep e-cigarettes and e-liquids locked away and out of reach of children.

How to talk to teens about the health risks of using e-cigarettes?

Talking with teens about risky behaviours is an important way for parents to help keep them safe. Parents are already good at talking to their teens about alcohol, smoking and drugs. E-cigarettes should be included in the conversation.

The earlier and more often you speak with young people about e-cigarettes, the more likely they are to listen. It’s important for parents to educate themselves, so they know the facts and what to say when the topic comes up.

Finally, young people are more likely to use smoking products if others around them do. Parents can lead by example by not using e-cigarettes at all, especially when children are around.

The Sparking Culture can help you and your child to overcome vaping, talk to us and we can start the recovery.

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