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Vaping 101

March 10, 2019 GMT

Vaping’s big selling point targets adult smokers who want to kick the habit. For many cigarette smokers, vaping is a quitting tool. While vaping may be an off-ramp for adults, it has become an on-ramp to nicotine use for youth. Unlike cigarettes, the electronic version is battery-powered and contains a liquid cartridge. When heated, the cartridge releases a vapor that the user inhales. The device models go by many names, including e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, hookah pens and mods.

A person must be at least 18 years old to purchase a vaping device, said Sgt. Tom Gray of the Lake Havasu City Police Department.

But that regulation doesn’t deter a determined teen. Some may obtain an e-cigarette from an older friend or steal a parent’s device. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Teens in particular are drawn to flavored e-cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration in 2018 stopped short of a ban on them. Instead, the FDA sought to persuade e-cigarette makers like Juul Labs to abandon marketing to minors.

The Centers for Disease Control says on its web site that the use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development. The CDC also noted that e-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.