What’s in your teenager’s vape? Find out how vapes can be used to smoke a wide variety of substances, from nicotine to hard drugs.

Since it became available in 2004, vaping has increased in popularity. This increase in popularity has not just affected adults, as teen vaping has also been on the rise. In 2018, 37% of 12th graders reported that they had vaped within the last year, compared to nearly 28% the previous year. Though these vaping statistics may seem surprising, the unfortunate fact is that when using a vape, nicotine is not the only substance that teens are using.

Other Drugs Found in Vapes

There has been an increase in the number of kids “juuling,” or using a particular type of small vape with a high concentration of nicotine or other drugs. Juuling has led to an increase in the normalization of vape usage in schools by teens and college students. There are several different types of vapes, and drugs besides nicotine can be used with almost every type of vape on the market today. With teen drug abuse on the rise, vapes provide a way for adolescents to disguise their recreational drug use as nicotine consumption. This provides teens with exposure to dangerous drugs at an early age and increases their long-term risk of addiction.


Marijuana use in teens has been increasing, and over 13% of 12th graders reported vaping marijuana within the last year, according to recent statistics. Purchasing marijuana vape oil or a marijuana vape cartridges has become easier as marijuana sales have become legal in multiple states. The rise of black market drugs online has also increased the ability of teenagers to purchase marijuana and has likely contributed to the increased number of kids smoking weed. When coupled with the ease and normality of vaping, it is no surprise that vaping marijuana is on the rise.

Synthetic Drugs

While marijuana is a commonly used substance when vaping recreational drugs, other more dangerous forms of cannabinoids are also used. K2, Spice and other synthetic forms of cannabinoids are more dangerous than marijuana because they are more likely to be cut with other substances. With an increase in the ability to buy drugs online, dangerous synthetic drugs are becoming increasingly available for use in vapes.


Psychedelics — drugs that cause extreme hallucinations, or “trips” — are becoming more commonly used in vapes. N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is one of the more potent psychedelic drugs available, and DMT vape juice is becoming more readily available.

Smoking DMT or other hard drugs can be both dangerous and addictive. The increase in teen smoking, coupled with the increase in the availability of recreational drugs for vaping makes it likely that more and more teens will be vaping dangerous hard drugs.

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Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Benjamin Caleb Williams, RN
Benjamin Caleb Williams is a board-certified Emergency Nurse with several years of clinical experience, including supervisory roles within the ICU and ER settings. Read more

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “About Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes).” November 15, 2018. Accessed July 21, 2019.

United States Drug Enforcement Agency. “Teens and Vaping.” December 17, 2019. Accessed July 21, 2019.

Ibarra, Ana B. “Parent Alert! Your Kid May Be Vaping More Than Nicotine.” California Healthline. August 22, 2018. Accessed July 21, 2019.

Ducharme, Jamie. “Teens Are ‘Juuling’ At School. Here’s What That Means.” TIME. March 27, 2018. Accessed July 21, 2019.

Greenhill, Richard. “Why Some Meth and DMT Users Are Using Vapes.” Vice. August 30, 2018. Accessed July 21, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.