Electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigs and vapes, are tobacco industry products. They come in many shapes and sizes – ranging from long cylindrical units to small boxes with a mouthpiece, to flat sticks similar in look to USB memory sticks (ex. Juul). Depending on the model, a user can fill their own cartridge with e-juice or buy pre-filled sealed cartridges. The fill-your-own or customizable cartridges can be used to vape everything from e-juices to cannabis.
The tobacco industry is spending significant amounts of money to market and promote vapour products and are making vapes attractive to students. They are readily available at local convenience stores, online and in specialty vape shops for everyone 19 years of age or older. However, many students under 19 are using vapes.
Vaping is not harmless! The short and long-term health effects are still being studied.
Many e-juices contain nicotine and students using them are at risk of becoming addicted
Nicotine can alter teen brain development and can affect memory and concentration
There is growing evidence that youth who vape go on to smoke cigarettes
What services does the NWHU offer to schools?
Under the new Smoke-Free Ontario Act 2017 (SFOA) the use of electronic cigarettes and vaping is now prohibited in any public or private school’s:
outdoor grounds, including playgrounds and sports fields
public areas within 20 metres of the school’s grounds
The Northwestern Health Unit’s Tobacco Enforcement Officers work in partnership with schools and school boards to enforce the SFOA.
The health unit can provide resources, such as presentations for students and for staff, on electronic cigarettes, nicotine addiction and tobacco. We also work with schools to create and implement a comprehensive policy that can further protect students and staff from the harms of use.
For more information, contact your local health unit office.
More information about vaping for staff, students and caregivers: