If you are a parent worried that your child may be vaping, you are not alone. Alarming research shows that 2.5 million middle and high school students in the United States are vaping. Out of this group, nearly 30% of youth are using e-cigarettes daily, this information is based on recently released data compiled by the FDA and CDC from their 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey. This data  led the U.S. Surgeon General to declare e-cigarette use among youth an “epidemic.”

Why Should Parents Be Concerned?

E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine — often at high levels — which is a highly addictive substance that, according to the CDC, can be harmful to adolescent brain development. When vaping, kids are exposed to other harmful toxins that can be damaging to the lungs, and addiction specialists say prolonged use can even cause coughing, mouth sores, or nosebleeds. Vaping, otherwise known as e-cigarette usage, has been known to be so addictive that families are seeking rehab facilities to help their kids kick the habit.

The 411 About E-Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are battery-powered devices that people use to heat liquid into a vapor or aerosol that can be inhaled into the lungs. The National Institutes of Health say the inhaled vapor may contain addictive levels of nicotine, flavorings, and toxins — including ones that may cause cancer.

These devices come in many shapes and sizes. The description from the CDC says most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid. Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, others look similar to USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.

You may often hear e-cigarettes referred to as e-cigs, vapes, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes, tank systems, and electronic nicotine delivery systems or ENDS.

Popularity of E-cigs

The allure of vaping for young people is that they:

  • Believe e-cigs are less dangerous than “regular” tobacco cigarettes.
  • Like the flavors of vapes.
  • Think it looks cool.
  • Believe it relieves stress.
  • Say it’s cheaper than a pack of cigarettes.
  • Like the “buzz” they get from it.
  • Can hide the habit at home and school.

What Can You Do as a Parent?

There are two things you can do if you’re concerned your child is vaping. Look for signs and get solutions.


  • Look for e-cigarettes. Remember, as described previously, they may be camouflaged to look like a pen or USB drive.
  • Kids like vapes often because of the sweet flavorings. Rely on your nose to sniff it out.
  • Vapes can dry the mouth and throat. Have you noticed your child drinking more lately to quench their thirst?
  • Those who vape often have sensitivity to caffeine, be aware if your child is making a hard pass at their typical soda or energy drink.
  • Look at behavior. Addictions can become obsessive, causing schoolwork to decline. Your child may also become anxious or depressed due to nicotine.
  • Find out where their money is going. Vaping can get expensive.


Any Lab Test Now® provides a number of lab tests giving you answers to concerns you may have about your child’s exposure to nicotine. First, a little background. Some drugs are chemically altered by the body as they are broken down. When nicotine is metabolized it becomes cotinine — a re-arrangement of the letters in the word nicotine — and what we look for to screen for nicotine usage.

There are three different tests you can receive at our confidential lab testing clinics. All tests require a standard urine sample that can be collected at the Any Lab Test Now® location near you.

  1. Cotinine Drug Test

This test identifies the presence or absence of cotinine in a urine sample.  Cotinine may be detected in urine for up to seven days after the most recent nicotine use or exposure. A confirmed positive result for cotinine is considered evidence of use or exposure in that time period. It is important to note that this test will not distinguish between the use of cigarettes, vapes, or nicotine replacement therapy products.

This test will qualitatively determine the presence or absence of cotinine in a standard urine sample. This test is only to be used for drug screening purposes.  All positive results are considered presumptive and should not be interpreted as definitive evidence of nicotine use without additional laboratory-based confirmation testing.

Using this test, we can identify the presence or absence of cotinine plus ten (10) different classes of commonly abused or misused drugs or their metabolites. As a laboratory-based test, this urine test includes a routine screen for each drug class, as well as any necessary confirmation testing. 


We understand that testing your child to see if they’ve been using nicotine through vaping can be a sensitive issue. We provide the utmost care and discretion with these matters and adhere to strict HIPAA regulations. You own the lab results, no one but you has access to them. In fact, if you choose, you can use an anonymous name to protect your child when you take them in for lab tests.

Any Lab Test Now® is Your Partner in Health

We are here as a resource for you to obtain answers with tangible results. Any Lab Test Now® is a lab testing center designed to serve you and your family as you strive for optimum wellness. Call now to schedule an appointment at a location near you.

*Help for Teens: https://teen.smokefree.gov/