Vaping – the act of inhaling a vaporized liquid from an electronic device – is alarmingly prevalent among Colorado teens.

Despite myths that vapes only contain “harmless water vapor,” that is not the case. There are hundreds of different vape products, which may include a range of ingredients including nicotine, chemical additives, flavorings and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

These devices go by many names including e-cigarettes, e-cigs, smokeless cigarettes, Juul, Puff Bar, vaporizers, vape, vape pens, mods, tanks, cigalikes, e-hookah and hookah pens.

Watch this video to get familiar with vape and vape devices, plus learn how the issue impacts Colorado youth.


On the rise

Vaping is an ongoing problem among teens and young adults in Colorado and across the country, despite the fact that it is illegal to buy vape products until age 21.

Most Colorado youth who vape use disposable devices that are small, cheap, and come in kid-friendly flavors.1 These discreet, throwaway devices have outpaced Juul as the most popular vaping devices among teens. And despite some federal limits around flavored tobacco, a variety of flavored vape products remain on the market and accessible to youth.

  • One in four Colorado youth currently vape regularly, and nearly half (45.7%) of Colorado middle- and high- school students have experimented with it.1
  • More than four in five youth who vape use flavored products, which are appealing to teens who wouldn’t use tobacco otherwise.2
  • 70% of youth who vape say they do so because they like the flavors.3

Health risks

Though some may claim vaping is healthier than traditional tobacco use, that doesn’t mean that vaping is safe, especially for young people. Studies have shown that the aerosol vapor from vape products can contain dangerous toxins, including heavy metals and chemicals known to cause cancer and other diseases.4

The chemicals used to create vape flavorings can damage the lungs, heart and immune system.5

Effects on adolescents

Vaping has significant health risks for teens.

Nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, is also in most vape products. The chemical has a negative impact on adolescent brain development, causing lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments, including effects on working memory and attention.5

All Puff Bars and Juuls – teens’ top choices for vaping devices – contain nicotine. Plus, both of these products use nicotine salts that allow for much higher levels of nicotine compared to earlier generations of e-cigarettes.7

Additionally, vaping is a predictor of future cigarette smoking. A study of 12th- grade students who had never smoked a cigarette found that those who had reported recent vaping were more than four times (4.78) more likely to report past-year smoking one year later.8

You can make a difference

It is important to know the facts about the health risks of vape. There are hundreds of vape products on the market today, and many are owned by big tobacco companies, which have a history of prioritizing sales over safety.9

Talk to the young people in your life about the risks.


Download this info in a PDF fact sheet

If you know a young person who vapes, free quit support is available

My Life, My Quit is a free tobacco treatment program for Colorado youth that offers 24/7 coaching support by text, web, and phone. Youth ages 12-17 can text “Start my quit” to 36072 to connect with a coach or receive quit tips. Learn More about My Life, My Quit.

1. Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2019. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
2. FDA National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2020.
3. “A Year of Progress, But Youth E-Cigarette Use Still at Epidemic Levels. Bold Action Needed to Ban All Flavored E-Cigarettes.” Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes. September 10, 2020.
4. Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Key Facts; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from
5. Miranda P. Ween et al. E-cigarettes and health risks: more to the flavour than just the name, American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology (2020). DOI: 10.1152/ajplung.00370.2020. Retrieved from:
6. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2014. Retrieved from
7. “What are Puff Bars?” Truth Initiative.
8. E-cigarette use as a predictor of cigarette smoking: results from a 1-year follow-up of a national sample of 12th grade students. Retrieved from
9. Tobacco Company Quotes on Marketing to Kids, Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids. Retrieved from