Google Translate Disclaimer

Translation on this website is provided by Google Translate, a third-party automated translator tool. The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of translations performed by Google Translate, or for any issues or damages resulting from its use.

print header

Smoking and Vaping

Vaping and E-cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are commonly called vapes, e-cigs, mods, or pens. They come in many styles, from box-like shapes to small flat USB-like sticks. No matter their appearance, they all have the same basic parts: a mouthpiece, a heating element, a tank or pod to hold e-liquid, and a battery. E-cigarettes work by heating an e-liquid until it turns into an aerosol.

The aerosol is not harmless water vapour (as the industry would have you believe) but a mixture of particles and chemicals. Once inhaled, these particles and chemicals enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, including the brain.

E-liquid contains propylene glycol (PG), vegetable glycerin (VG), chemical flavourings, and nicotine. Propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and chemical flavourings are considered safe to eat, but this does not mean they are safe to inhale. When heated, PG and VG can produce chemicals like formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer.

Nicotine, the same highly addictive drug found in cigarettes and other commercial tobacco products is also added to e-liquid. However, some e-cigarettes manufacturers are using new methods to turn nicotine into a salt. This lets more nicotine be added to e-liquid compared to cigarettes. Nicotine salt is also more easily absorbed by the body and less harsh for the user. This combination makes these products very addictive and the consequences, especially for youth, can be more serious.

There are laws that limit the amount of nicotine in e-liquids that can be legally sold in Canada. However, high nicotine products still make their way into the country in ways such as online sales. 

E-cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to cigarettes. However, for people who do not smoke, vaping is not a safe or healthy addiction to start.

It is now known that vaping has long-term health effects, including lung damage that is similar to damage caused by cigarettes.

Vaping can also increase the risk of a heart attack and using both cigarettes and e-cigarettes increases the risk even more. Particles in e-cigarette aerosol can also worsen existing lung conditions and cause ear, eye, and throat irritation.

The propylene glycol in e-liquid absorbs moisture, including saliva in the mouth. The lack of moisture causes dry mouth, which in turn causes tooth decay and severe gum infections.

For more information on the health effects of vaping, visit

We know for people who smoke, completely switching to vaping (e-cigarettes) has reduced health risks. However, switching to e-cigarettes does not eliminate all risks, and harms associated with long-term e-cigarette use are beginning to emerge.

Though vaping may present an option for quitting smoking, the recommendation remains to try other smoking cessation treatments first (e.g., patches, sprays, lozenges) or ask your healthcare provider about prescription medications like Champix or Zyban that have been shown to help people quit successfully. 

More information about quitting vaping or smoking can be found on our website.

Many teens and young adults understand the dangers of smoking and among youth, smoking is at an all-time low. However, despite this, vapour products (like e-cigarettes) are still addicting young people to nicotine. 

Between 2017-2019, vaping rates doubled among Ontario students in grades 7-12. In Simcoe Muskoka, 32% of students in grades 7-12 reported using an e-cigarette in the past year, with this number jumping to 43% when we look at only high school students.

More information about how you can help prevent the young people in your lives from becoming addicted to nicotine through vaping or support them to quit, can be found here

Did you find what you were looking for today?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...