E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among Montana’s youth.

Although fewer youth are smoking cigarettes, the tobacco industry continues to create and market products that offer new ways to deliver nicotine and hook lifelong customers. Several of the largest tobacco companies, such as Lorillard, R.J. Reynolds and Altria, have either acquired e-cigarette companies or are marketing their own electronic cigarettes.

As e-cigarette sales have risen, product costs have dropped, making e-cigarettes increasingly affordable – a factor that makes these products appealing to youth, who tend to be particularly price-sensitive.2 Almost half of Montana high school students have tried e-cigarettes and 23% are using them regularly.1

E-Cigarette Basics

  • Also called “e-cigs,” “mods,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” and “tank systems.” 3
  • Devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol, also called vapor, that the user inhales.
  • They come in many shapes and sizes. Many are designed to look just like regular cigarettes.
  • The liquid and aerosol can be made up of nicotine, flavorings, ultrafine particles, heavy metals, and chemicals that have been known to cause cancer.3

E-cigarette use poses a significant and avoidable health risk to young people.

Nicotine affects brain development, which continues to age 25.4 

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a very addictive substance. Nicotine, no matter how it’s delivered, is unsafe for youth and young adults because it can harm their developing brains.5 

Young people are more likely to take risks when it comes to their health and safety because the portion of their brain responsible for decision making and impulse control is not fully developed.

Nicotine addiction, mood disorders, and permanent lowering of impulse control are all risks of using nicotine products during adolescence.

Nicotine also changes the way new memories are created or skills are learned.4

Not only can nicotine harm the parts of the brain that control attention and learning, but since young people’s brains build these connections faster than adult brains, addiction happens more easily for young people than adults. Big Tobacco is targeting youth to create life-long customers.

E-cigarette use among youth and young adults is strongly linked to the use of other tobacco products.4 

There is no evidence to support the claim that using e-cigarettes “protects” young people from using cigarettes.4 In fact, research shows that non-smoking youth who use e-cigarettes are 4 times more likely to try conventional cigarettes than the non-smoking youth who do not use e-cigarettes.6

E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless.4 

The aerosol, often called vape or vapor, can contain harmful and potentially harmful chemicals including:

  • Nicotine: ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • Diacetyl: a flavoring chemical linked to a serious lung disease
  • Benzene: a volatile organic compound found in car exhaust
  • Nickel, tin, and lead: heavy metals

Scientists are still working to understand the health effects and harmful doses of e-cigarette contents when they are heated and turned into an aerosol for both the user and those exposed to the aerosol secondhand.

E-cigarettes can explode and cause fires.4 

E-cigarettes contain lithium batteries that have been known to explode. Some of these explosions have caused serious, preventable injuries.

Did you know:

  • E-cigarettes are being marketed using the same tactics Big Tobacco used to get kids to start smoking regular cigarettes.
  • No e-cigarette product has been approved by the FDA as a quit aid.
  • E-cigarettes can be found in over 7,700 flavors targeted at youth, like cotton candy, root beer float and bubblegum – flavors that federal law prohibits in conventional cigarettes.
  • E-cigarettes and refill cartridges are advertised on radio and TV, and in magazines.
  • The good news – as of August 2016, Montana retailers are prohibited from selling e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.

Take Action

Action can be taken at the national, state, local, tribal and territorial levels to address e-cigarette use among youth and young adults. Actions could include:

Parents, teachers, health care providers, and others who influence youth and young adults can:

    • Advise and inform them of the dangers of nicotine
    • Discourage youth tobacco use in any form, including e-cigarettes
    • Set a positive example by being tobacco-free themselves. If you or someone you know needs help quitting tobacco, use the Montana Tobacco Quit Line!

Learn about the dangers of e-cigarettes, local and national tobacco use trends, and how tobacco companies are targeting kids to become lifelong users in this video.

Watch Our TV Ad:

To learn more about the dangers of e-cigarettes, click the image below: