Health info for youth

Your lungs provide the fuel your body needs to live: oxygen. They also make human speech possible. The health risks from vaping include the known – and the unknown.

When you vape, you are inhaling an aerosol that contains various substances.

Many vaping liquids contain nicotine. Here’s what we know about the health effects of nicotine:

  • nicotine is highly addictive
  • children and youth are more likely to develop a nicotine dependence, even with limited exposure
  • nicotine:
    • can affect memory and concentration
    • can alter brain development especially in children and youth; and
    • may reduce impulse control; and cause cognitive and behavioural problems in children and youth

Along with nicotine, vaping liquid contains other chemicals.

Diacetyl is a flavouring chemical used to give a butter-like flavour to food products and vaping products. Exposure to this chemical has been known to cause workers in popcorn plants to develop ‘popcorn lung,’ a chronic disease that damages the small airways in the lung.

Vegetable glycerine & propylene glycol are the main liquids found in vaping products. They are found in many food products as sweeteners and in cosmetics. The safety of inhaling these products during the vaping process is not known.

The process of heating these substances to produce the vapour may also produce new chemicals, such as formaldehydes. Contaminants such as nickel, tin and aluminum might also get into the products.

While vaping liquids contain less chemicals than tobacco products, exposure to the chemicals and contaminants varies depending on:

  • the vapour liquid itself
  • the settings of the device
  • the power level
  • the amount of nicotine

Since vaping is relatively new, we don’t know yet what the health risks might be for people who vape over a long period of time. Acknowledging the long-term risks are unknown, is not the same as saying there are no risks.

The best choice for your health is to not vape.

Find out more

Health Canada: Risks of Vaping with Nicotine

Health Canada: Risks of Chemicals in Vaping

HealthLink BC: Vaping

Health Canada: Risks of Vaping

SACY: Fact Sheet