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The Far-Reaching Impacts of Vaping

Substance Use Prevention Update:

Learn more about the physical and environmental impacts of vaping

There are countless reasons to avoid vaping nicotine or cannabis. Vaping of any kind impacts physical health, such as risks of lung problems, exposure to toxic metals, cancer, dependency, harm to development, and worsened symptoms of preexisting physical or mental conditions. According to research by the National Institute of Health, long-term use of electronic cigarettes, or vaping products, can significantly impair the function of the body’s blood vessels, increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease. Outside of numerous health impacts, vaping also is a threat to the environment, which should be a priority to generations seeing the harrowing consequences of a climate change crisis.

Vaping devices often use pods or cartages that are filled with liquid forms of nicotine or cannabis. These devices and cartridges are made of plastics and metals that are very difficult to recycle correctly and often end up in normal garbage cans or discarded on the ground, with their chemical substances still inside. Vapes also contain batteries and heating elements, meaning the waste from a vaping device has three parts:

· plastic waste

· hazardous waste (chemicals, heavy metals, nicotine, cannabis)

· electronic waste (heating elements, batteries)

The single use plastic waste from a vape cartridge cannot be recycled with other plastics because it contains chemical nicotine or cannabis. If discarded on the ground, they can leak these chemicals into the natural environment and take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Even small amounts of nicotine can be harmful or deadly for pets or animals that may encounter or eat this waste.

Roughly 1 in every 20 Americans use vaping devices. According to FDA and CDC research from the 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey, almost 1 in 5 highschoolers vape. Some people go through a cartridge every week, while others might go through a whole pack. That’s a lot of vape waste.

Vapes also leave behind secondhand smoke (or vapor) and thirdhand smoke. This thirdhand nicotine and chemical-filled vapor settles on surfaces like clothes or furniture and can be ingested by pets or young children. Help your family understand that the risks involved with vaping are too high, for their personal health, their future, and the environment.

To find out how you can become involved locally, contact Jamie Lovley, Substance Use Prevention Coordinator, at



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