A Smoke Shop’s Disposable Vape Guide for Parents

Identifying "Disposable Vape" Devices

Part of 710 Pipes' VapeID program is to help prevent youth access to nicotine products.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about what flavored vape products are on the market. We sincerely hope that this parenting guide to vaping will help people make informed decisions. We are update this page as often as possible and strive to be the most up to date resource for parents wanting to know about vaping equipment. For other new examples, periodically visit our disposable vapes page.

What is a Disposable Vape Pen?

Electronic cigarettes come in many forms. Unlike traditional cigarettes, there is no smoke created from tobacco combustion in the vaping experience. Vape juice is usually composed of vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol, flavorings and nicotine.

The levels of nicotine can be adjusted to exact percentages in the mixture. A typical disposable can have 30-60 mg/mL of nicotine by volume. This potency is why many people use it as a smoking cessation product.

The Food and Drug Administration, the State of California, and many other locations declare there are reproductive harms, birth defects, and other reproductive issues associated with vaporizer use. The purpose of this article is not to debate the merits of those conclusions. Always keep nicotine & tobacco products away from children and pets.

Disposable Vaporizer Pen by "Hype Maxx Flow" in Strawberry Freeze Flavor

Legal Vape Sales: Brick & Mortar

Shelves of Vaporizers and eJuice at Brick-and-Mortar Vape Shop

These days, almost all legal nicotine purchases are sold in brick & mortar stores. Vape shops, tobacconists and convenience stores account for most sales of tobacco products. States have strong regulations on how nicotine sales are transacted and perform enforcement actions regularly. Many States receive excise taxes and other revenue from nicotine sales to fund these operations.

Most local vape shops have age-restricted entry, either by store policy or local laws. Convenience, gas and some liquor stores, unfortunately, do not enforce age-restricted entry policies. New laws, including raising the age to buy nicotine products to 21, have made a significant impact in the past 2 years.

Local jurisdictions could also implement a “Seed-to-Sale” style system utilized by the cannabis industry in many states. Very few licensed tobacco retailers or tobacco companies are willing to jeopardize their license by selling to minors.

Illegal Vape Sales: Dark Web & Street Sales

Most underage sales are conducted by unscrupulous, illegitimate dealers online or on social media. There are no regulations of any kind that will 100% stop these sales. Some sales come directly from China. Often online vape sales are paid in bitcoin or other digital currencies.

Unfortunately, this group will benefit the most from the prohibition of flavored vaping devices, seconded by Big Tobacco with their combustible forms of nicotine. Whether a street dealer or a shady foreign actor, either way, they are knowingly breaking our laws no different than someone selling hard drugs.

Look for the Signs of Vaping

"Esco Bars" Disposable Vape Models in Assorted Flavors

Here are twelve signs and things you can do that might reveal your child is vaping.

  1. Vape devices are often small and harder to see. But using our guide above to recognize the general shape of a device is very helpful. The latest disposables last for days but it has to be said, they really don’t look like anything else. If you see a small high tech looking device that is not a USB drive and you can’t figure out what it is, it may very well be a vaporizer.
  2. The human nose is the best detector of vape use, as fruity, sweet & minty stands out against laundry, as vape lingers. It’s true that some e-liquids are odorless, but the vast majority of the most popular ones have the distinct smell of berries, citrus, watermelon and other enticing flavors intended to appeal to young people. If your child or their room smells fruity, they may be vaping.
  3. Some vaporizers need to be recharged before they run out of power. So if your son or daughter owns a rechargeable vape unit there must be a charging unit somewhere. If you see a charger on their nightstand or bureau chances are it will have a name on it. Google search any names or text on chargers. Many times this reveals their intended use. Also, if you see unfamiliar batteries lying around your child’s room they may also be associated with a vaping device. Make a note of the type of battery and conduct a Google search such as “What is an XXX battery used for?”
  4. Checking the trash periodically can reveal evidence of vaping. Since they are disposable, there is a higher number of devices required. At some point, a disposable vaping device is going to wind up in the trash somewhere. It's possible your child may dispose of their devices outside the home, but they may not. It can't hurt to check what's in their waste basket from time to time.
  5. Consider monitoring spending habits. These devices are not cheap. Some disposable vapes can be forty dollars each, even more if sold on the black market. If your teen often seems short of money they may be spending it on vaping devices and e-juice. If they carry a credit card and you have access to the bill, consider checking it for questionable purchases.
  6. Juul pods are compact cartridges that are inserted into a vaping device. They carry small quantities of e-juice. These devices are designed to look like tiny USB drives, but if you open them up, you see the liquid which is held in a clear container so you can monitor how much is left. If you see what looks like a USB drive in the trash, open it up. Not many people throw away USB drives. It may be a Juul pod.
  7. If your teen used to be a big fan of Starbucks or energy drinks and has suddenly stopped consuming caffeine it may indicate vaping. That’s because e-cig users sometimes develop a sensitivity to caffeine. So if the Red Bulls have been sitting in the fridge untouched for weeks, it might be a sign your child has taken up vaping.
  8. If your son or daughter suddenly seems thirsty all the time it might also indicate they have taken up vaping. Vapers often complain about “cotton mouth”, which is a common side effect of regular vaping. This dry mouth syndrome is caused by the propylene glycol in e-liquids which prevents water molecules from being properly absorbed by the body. So if you see your teen chugging down glasses of water it might be a sign they’re vaping.
  9. While you are checking the waste basket for discarded vaping devices keep an eye out for cotton balls and small metal coils that look something like small springs. The coils may be components of a vaping device, and organic cotton balls are often used as wicks in the vaping device. To be sure, the presence of cotton balls alone does not prove your child is vaping. But if other evidence is also present, cotton balls may help confirm your suspicions.
  10. If your son or daughter is beset by random nosebleeds it may be tempting to dismiss it as allergies or aggressive nose-picking, (as distasteful as that is, it happens). But don’t be so quick to reach a conclusion. Remember the propylene glycol we mentioned earlier? The substance that causes cotton mouth? Well it can also dry out the tissue inside the nostrils triggering random nosebleeds in frequent vapers.
  11. An “atomizer” is a tiny device that transforms e-juice into vapor. It’s an important part of most e-cigs. Atomizers look sturdy but the fact is they don’t last forever and need to be replaced. Since atomizers come in many shapes and sizes, we suggest you do an internet search using the word “atomizer”. You will get a good idea of the different styles on the market. If you see one of these devices in the trash or in your child’s room there’s only one reasonable conclusion.
  12. If your teen has never had a problem with you coming into their room and cleaning up, and then suddenly does an about-face on the issue, there’s a good chance something is amiss. Now it might just be that they’ve reached the age where privacy has suddenly become a thing for them. Or it could be that there’s something they just don’t want you to see. That something could be as innocent as photos of a heartthrob. Or it could be something else; such as cigarettes, alcohol, evidence of drug use or evidence of vaping.
"Elf Bar BC5000" Disposable Vapes in Assorted Flavors

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

If you have reason to believe your child is vaping, it won’t do much good to get angry about it. (Think of when you were a teen and how you responded to lectures from adults.) The best course of action is to openly speak with your children about vaping. Keeping the conversation authentic is key to getting them to listen. Consider asking your children about their friends who vape and how they feel about it. Remember, children are curious about the world around them and that curiosity doesn’t wane when they become teens. It just shifts from insects to more adult concerns.

It’s likely that if they are vaping, it’s because they think it will improve their chances of being socially accepted, and that’s also a natural desire. So if you’re going to talk to them about vaping, try not to do so with an accusatory, judgmental tone in your voice. Instead, try to keep things low-key and respectful.

"Mr. Vapor Maxx" Disposable Vaporizer Pens in Assorted Flavors


While there is plenty of evidence that vaping is safer than cigarette smoking, medical professionals have nonetheless raised some legitimate concerns about the effects of vaping, especially on young people whose bodies are still in the developmental stage. Use the above tips to try and determine if your teen is vaping, and if they are, have a respectful heart-to-heart with them about it.

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