Open Accessibility Menu

See what you’ve been missing

Published in For the Health of It Author: CentraCare

Chemical Health Consultant
Sauk Rapids-Rice High School

You may have seen the TV commercials or social media ads from, showcasing the epidemic that is youth electronic cigarette use. The U.S. Surgeon General and FDA Commissioner declared the epidemic following a national rise in youth vaping by 78 percent in the last year! In Minnesota, youth vaping has increased nearly 50 percent since 2014, contributing to an overall increase in youth tobacco use for the first time in 17 years.

Do you know what to look for? Many vaping devices are easy to hide in plain sight and look strikingly similar to everyday items like flash drives or pens. Review this helpful infographic to learn more.

Do their rooms or cars smell artificially sweet? Don’t assume it’s a scented candle or air freshener. There are currently over 15,500 flavors of e-juice on the market, providing a smorgasbord of possible scents.

Let’s be real, it’s NOT just water vapor. Although the vapor from electronic cigarettes typically has fewer chemicals than regular cigarettes, it may still contain heavy metals like lead, flavorings linked to lung disease, small particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs and cancer-causing chemicals. But the main issue with e-cigarettes is the high levels of nicotine.

What is it about nicotine? Most e-juices contain nicotine — the addictive drug found in cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products. Nicotine is quite harmful, especially for teens. Nicotine exposure to the underdeveloped adolescent brain can contribute to changes in attention, mood and impulse control. All while increasing the risk for future addiction to other drugs.

So, now what? There’s a lot we can do to protect teens from the harms of nicotine in Minnesota!

  • Adding Electronic Cigarettes to the Clean Indoor Air Act. E-cigarettes emit aerosol that contains nicotine, heavy metals, formaldehyde and other carcinogens and harmful chemicals. An overwhelming majority of Minnesotans — 81 percent — support expanding protections to prohibit electronic-cigarette use in indoor public places.
  • Raising the Tobacco Age to 21. Flavored e-cigs and other tobacco products lead kids to start smoking at an early age. Almost 95 percent of addicted adult smokers start before age 21. That’s part of the reason why 75 percent of American adults, including 70 percent of current smokers, support raising the tobacco age to 21. Voice your support by sending a digital postcard to your elected officials.

Learn more about becoming an advocate for tobacco-free youth at