What You Need to Know about Vaping: Facts, Risks, FAQs and More

Health risks and side effects of vaping you should know about.

1. The e-liquid used in vaping products contains chemicals that evidences demonstrates has negative health effects.

Vaping products contain an e-liquid that is vapourized, and then inhaled by users. This e-liquid contains a variety of chemicals. The long-term risks of inhaling these chemicals are still being studied. Research has begun to demonstrate negative effects on both the lung and heart.

2. The process of heating e-liquid produces additional chemicals also under investigation to determine potential risks to health.

The carrier solvent for the e-juice is typically made up of propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine. The health implications and safety of inhaling these substances are not yet understood.

3. Most vaping products contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance.

Similar to the chemicals found in e-liquid vapour, the long-term health effects of inhaling vaporized nicotine are not yet understood.

4. Levels of nicotine in vaping products vary significantly.

Whereas nicotine-containing products (e.g. nicotine patches) that carry a smoking cessation claim contain standardized/regulated nicotine levels, levels in vaping product e-liquids can vary significantly. Nicotine content in vaping products is not yet regulated.

5. Especially susceptible to nicotine’s health risks are young children, youth, and pregnant women.

We strongly advise these populations to avoid using vaping products.

6. Nicotine can alter fetal development in pregnant women and brain development in young people.

Youth and young adults can become addicted to nicotine much more easily. There is also evidence use of vaping products with nicotine by youth can lead to addiction to other tobacco products.

7. Many vaping products contain THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention links THC to the majority of cases of vaping-related lung illness.  

8. Vitamin E acetate is believed a likely contributor to recently reported THC-related vaping illness.

While safe for use topically or to ingest as a supplement, inhalation of vitamin E acetate can interfere with normal lung function. E-cigarettes also contain chemicals suspected or known to cause cancer.

9. Research indicates people who vape may be at a higher risk of heart disease.

Using vaping products is shown to increase heart rate and potentially damage the lining of the arteries, causing blood vessels to stiffen. Research already exists linking nicotine use to heart disease in people who smoke.

10. There are risks associated with breathing in second-hand vapour.

Vaping products produce particulate matter that can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause cardiovascular damage.  It is important to be cautious using vaping products around non-users, especially youth or pregnant women who are most susceptible to related health risks.  

11. Finally, most vaping products use lithium-ion batteries that can explode and cause fire and injury.

It is vital vaping product batteries be properly used, stored, carried, and charged. Serious injuries have occurred due to battery malfunctions. If you notice a safety problem related to a vaping product, report the problem to the manufacturer or Health Canada.

FAQs about Vaping 

Here are some of the commonly asked questions about vaping and vaping products.

What are vaping products?

Vaping products are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid solution to create an aerosol (vapour or cloud). Vaping products have many names such as e-cigarettes, vapes, vape pens, mods (box or pod), tanks, e-hookahs and are also known by various brand names. These devices do not contain tobacco and do not involve burning. Most contain nicotine. They consist of the following: 

  • Atomizer is also known as cartomizer or clearomizer 
  • E-juice is also known as e-liquid or vaping liquid

What vaping devices are most commonly used?

Original vaping devices were made to look like traditional cigarettes. However, newer generations of vaping products are more advanced and come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. “JUUL” and “Aspire Breeze” are examples of vaping products that are now becoming very popular. They contain high amounts of nicotine, which are readily absorbed; thus providing a greater nicotine “hit”.

What is in the e-juice?

Most e-juice typically contain:

  • Propylene glycol (PG) 

  • Vegetable glycerin (VG) 

  • Flavourings Nicotine (none to very high amounts) 

  • Nicotine (none to very high amounts)

What are the health effects of using vaping products?

Vaping products DO HAVE an impact on health. The toxic chemicals in the aerosol lead to short-term respiratory and cardiovascular health effects and may cause cancer. 

The long-term health effects of using vaping products are currently unknown and continue to be studied. 

Vaping products that contain nicotine can lead to nicotine addiction and physical dependence. The immediate response to nicotine includes increased heart rate and blood pressure. Youth are particularly susceptible to the negative effects of nicotine. It can alter brain development, affect memory, concentration and mood.

Are vaping products less harmful than cigarettes?

For people who smoke, vaping products may be considered a less harmful alternative. This is because the aerosol contains fewer toxic chemicals compared to cigarettes. However, given the potential and unknown harms of vaping products, people who do not smoke, should NOT vape. 

Are vaping products legal in Canada?

Vaping products are legal in Canada. However, there are both federal and provincial laws that govern how they are produced, labelled, promoted, and sold. 

Information about Vaping Products for Families 

The use of vaping products by youth is becoming increasingly common. There are some misconceptions about the aerosol (vapour or cloud) produced, and currently the long-term health effects are unknown. As caregivers, you can connect and discuss issues around vaping products with your child. The information provided in these resources is designed to inform and help you start the conversation.

Vaping Products Information for Families

The use of vaping products by youth is becoming increasingly common. There are some misconception about the aerosol (vapour or cloud) produced, and currently the long-term health effects are unknown. As caregivers, you can connect and discuss issues around vaping products with your child. The information provided in this here is designed to inform and help you start the conversation.

Reasons why people use vaping products

  • Flavours are appealing (e.g. fruit, candy, mint) helps them fit in Trendy devices

  • Their friends are vaping; it  helps them fit in

  • Curiosity and/or boredom

  • They consider vaping to be harmless

  • They like the “hit” from nicotine; it increases feelings of pleasure

  • It makes them feel rebellious; some vape in places they are not allowed as it is easy to hide the vaping device

  • To quit or cut down on smoking tobacco 

Start a conversation with your child

Have honest conversations with your child. If you use tobacco or vaping products, this is an opportunity to discuss the risks, any regrets, difficulties, and health effects you may have experienced. 

Be patient and ready to listen when taking part in conversations with youth. Try to avoid criticism and encourage an open dialogue. Remember to keep the discussion going, and do not expect to make an impact with just one conversation. 

Questions you may be asked

Following are some questions your child may ask about vaping products along with suggestions on how to respond. 

“Why shouldn’t I vape?” 

Researchers have found that vaping products contain toxic and addictive ingredients that could harm your body. When people breathe in the vapour, they inhale tiny particles that get trapped in the lungs. Vaping e-juice that contains nicotine can be delivered to the brain and lead to nicotine addiction. 

“Isn’t e-juice just water and flavourings?” 
E-juice typically contains chemicals as well as flavourings. These chemicals and flavourings are safe for use in food. However, the health effects of breathing in the chemicals are unknown. Most e-juice on the market contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. 

“What is the big deal with nicotine?”
Our brains continue to develop until about the age of 25 years. Nicotine use during this period can cause problems with concentration, learning and impulse control. Once you start using nicotine, you can become addicted and physically dependent –keeping you coming back for more. 

“Is vaping nicotine-free e-juice safe?” 
Studies have found that many vaping products labelled “nicotine-free” still contain nicotine. Inhaling nicotine-free vapour is still a health concern. 

“Isn’t the cloud produced when vaping just water vapour?” 
Once e-juice is heated, a number of toxic chemicals are created. Many are cancercausing. 

  • Heavy metals: chromium, nickel and lead 

  • Carbonyls: formaldehyde, aldehyde 

  • Tobacco-specific nitrosamines 

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs): benzene, toluene, ethanol, and alcohol 

  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): group of more than 100 chemicals (e.g. Benzo[a]pyrene) 

  • Tiny particles (particulate matter): mixture of all solid and liquid particles

If you are around friends who vape, the cloud exhaled exposes you to chemicals that may not be safe to breathe. 

“Isn’t vaping safer than smoking cigarettes?” 
Vaping is less harmful than tobacco products such as cigarettes, but it is not harmless. There are still many health concerns with vaping given the presence of chemicals, toxic compounds,
and nicotine. 
Short-term health effects are increased coughing, and wheezing, inflammation of the lungs and increased heart rate. The long-term health effects of vaping are currently not known. 

Vaping products can explode and cause fires that may result in burns and injuries. 

Quick vaping facts

  • The vapour is not harmless 

  • Have high nicotine content – very addictive 

  • Flavourings appeal to youth 

  • Easy to hide and use

  • May look like a USB or a flash drive 

  • Could recharge on a USB port 

  • Sometimes called “Juuling” or “Breezing”


Page Last Updated: 15/02/2022