This page contains details about the CATCH My Breath program, videos, tip/fact sheets, and a social media site, as well as background information on E-cigarettes. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Introduction Letter to Parents
Parent Information HandoutThis handout covers general program info and answers questions like "What will students learn?" and "Why is E-cigarette education needed?"
These fact sheets are intended to help you talk about E-cigarettes with your teen.
- Parent Tip Sheet for talking with your teens about E-cigarettes by the CDC available here
- Fact Sheet on Youth and E-cigarettes by the Surgeon General available here
- E-cigarette Guide for Parents and Educators by Safe Kids America available here
- Kid's Health Smoking available here
- Science News for Students articles on E-cigarettes available here
- Public Health Law Center Map of E-Cigarette regulations in all 50 states available here
- Browse the CATCH My Breath Pinterest page here
What is an E-cigarette?
The basic components of an E-cigarette (aka vape pen) are a cartridge containing a nicotine solution, a heating element that aerosolizes the solution, and a power source for the heating element, which is usually a rechargeable lithium battery. E-cigarette appearance can vary. Some devices, like JUUL, look more like a USB device than an E-cigarette.
E-cigarettes can be purchased in several concentrations of nicotine, many which are equal to or higher than the nicotine content in conventional cigarettes. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine through a liquid (called E-juice) consisting of glycerin and/or propylene glycol, as well as flavoring chemicals such as fruit, bubble gum, and other flavors that are very attractive to youth.
How harmful are E-cigarettes?
- E-cigarettes are a source of extremely high doses of ultrafine particles in the human respiratory system. These particles have been linked to cardiovascular disease.
- Nicotine is much more addictive to the immature teen brain compared to the developed adult brain.
- Even a little nicotine can lead to ADHD-like symptoms and compulsive behavior, which can contribute to classroom behavior problems.
- There is some evidence that nicotine primes the brain for other drug addictions.
- Nicotine is extremely harmful to the developing fetus. There is no known safe level of nicotine exposure in utero.
- Drinking nicotine in E-juice is harmful and possibly fatal for babies and toddlers.
- Nicotine overdose symptoms include rapid heart rate, nausea, elevated blood pressure, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, convulsion, and potentially seizure and death.
- The process of heating the nicotine solution produces aldehyde, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, and acrolein, which are known carcinogens.
- The glycerin/propylene glycol and 8,000+ flavoring chemicals in E-cigs have only been approved for ingestion (eating). It is not recommended by the manufacturers that these chemicals be inhaled, as they have not been widely tested for their potential sensitizing, toxic, or irritating characteristics.
- Many E-liquids are custom-mixed by individuals at home, increasing the potential for additional health risks to E-cigarette users. Even commercial E-liquids are produced with unknown manufacturing procedures, packaging materials, and purity standards.
How common is E-cigarette use?
Across the U.S., 11.3% of high school students and 4.3% of middle school students use E-cigarettes. In some states over 40% of middle school kids have tried an E-cigarette at least once (over 50% in high school). This data points to the fact that large numbers of American children will become addicted to nicotine and are at risk for becoming a regular tobacco user.