Healthy Choices, Healthy Lives: Educators Can Empower Youth to Live Vape-Free

Findings from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey show that more than 2.1 million U.S. middle and high school students use e-cigarettes (also called “vapes”). Tobacco use in any form, including vapes, is especially unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults. Most vapes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm brain development. Nicotine exposure during adolescence can impact students’ learning, mood, and attention. These effects can make it harder for students to focus on their academics, athletics, and other extracurricular activities.

As an educator and a trusted source of information, you can help your students understand the risks of vaping, teach them how to build healthy coping skills, and ultimately empower them to live vape-free.

How Vaping Affects Student Health

Mental health challenges are a growing problem among youth. Your students may turn to vaping to try to cope with feelings of anxiety, stress, or depression. However, nicotine addiction can be its own source of stress. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can include feeling irritable, anxious, or depressed, as well as having problems concentrating. Students may continue vaping to temporarily relieve these symptoms, creating a cycle of nicotine addiction.

In addition to nicotine, vape aerosol can also contain other harmful or potentially harmful substances. These substances include cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals, ultrafine particles, and flavorings, such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease. Scientists are still learning about the short- and long-term health effects of using vapes.

Healthy Alternatives to Share With Your Students

Most adolescents who vape want to quit. A conversation with a trusted adult in their lives can help them make the decision to quit. You can help your students deal with stress and anxiety in ways that aren’t harmful.

Here are 5 healthy coping mechanisms you can share with your students:

  1. Stay active. Empower your students to reduce their stress and anxiety by getting physical activity every day.
  2. Practice self-care. Teach students how they can reduce their feelings of stress by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep.
  3. Recognize and manage stressful feelings. Help your students identify what causes their stress or anxiety and help them proactively manage it when they start feeling this way.
  4. Practice relaxation techniques. Encourage positive stress management techniques, like meditation, listening to music, or deep breathing.
  5. Build a support system. Provide support when your students feel stressed and encourage them to reach out to family and friends.

Empower Your Students to Stop Vaping

CDC’s Empower Vape-Free Youth TM campaign encourages middle and high school educators to speak with their students about the risks of e-cigarettes and nicotine addiction. As an influential figure in their lives, you can talk to your students and empower them to live vape-free.

Visit to access tools and resources to learn more about the health effects of vaping, ways you can talk to your students about vaping, and support to help students quit.

Additional Resources

This post is promoted content from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s Empower Vape-Free Youth TM campaign encourages middle and high school educators to speak with students about the risks of e-cigarettes and nicotine addiction. The campaign also provides resources for educators to help students avoid or quit vaping.

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