Vaping

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What is marijuana vaping?

WHAT WE KNOW: More teens are using e-cigarettes or pocket-size vape devices for hidden marijuana use at home or school. Nationally, one in 11 middle- and high-school students reported using an e-cigarette for marijuana, hash oil or wax. Small e-cigarettes and vape devices are nearly odorless and can avoid detection. The devices are battery-operated, and quickly heat to dispense high-potency THC, flavored liquids or tobacco. 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING: The effects of vaping cannabis as well as higher-THC products like oil and wax are still being studied. We also need to learn how to identify and prevent hidden marijuana use by students and youth.

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What’s in the vapor?

WHAT WE KNOW: In addition to marijuana, vaping itself is risky due to inhalation of other chemicals found in various products. Some of the chemicals that have been found in e-cigarette liquids include: heavy metals such as lead, nickel and chromium; formaldehyde; and artificial flavors linked to serious diseases.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING:  Besides the unknown negative health effects of cannabis vaping, early studies indicate that e-cigarette use by youth may lead to habitual use of tobacco products.

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Are vape pens and e-cigarettes safe to use?

WHAT WE KNOW:  The simple answer is no. The possibilities of inhaling unknown chemical ingredients are likely. And it is difficult to measure how much THC is vaped, especially from concentrates. The risk of overuse can be high, particularly for teens who are experimenting. Note: In California, to protect young users, it is illegal to sell or provide smoking or vaping paraphernalia to anyone under 21 years of age.

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING:  The FDA has cracked down on e-cigarette sales to minors, calling teen vaping an epidemic of “clear and present danger” for youth. Manufacturers have been warned to reduce youth access to devices and flavored e-liquids, and must stop misleading social media advertising. Parents should be alert to these new protections and how they are implemented.


“If I am running a school or a house, and I have a nose, I can tell if my kids are smoking pot. But if they’re using a vape pen, forget about it.”

Mark Kleiman, Professor of Public Policy, UCLA.