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E-Cigarettes and Vaping: Why It's Bad for You

E-Cigarettes and Vaping: Why It's Bad for You

The U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, has issued a report on vaping in the U.S. He warns of the dangers of E-cigarette use, primarily among youth. E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol (vapor, stream). Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol generated by the e-cigarette.

E-cigarettes are also known as:

  • E-cigs

  • Vapes

  • E-hookahs

  • Vape pens

  • Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)

  • Mods

  • Tank systems

E-cigarettes can look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.

The products inside e-cigarettes vary:

  • Nicotine

  • Flavoring

  • Marijuana and other drugs

  • Cancer-causing chemicals

  • Harmful ingredients, such as heavy metals, nickel, tin, and lead

Health Effects

Nicotine: Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. All JUUL e-cigarettes contain a high level of nicotine.

  • Highly addictive

  • Toxic to developing fetuses

  • Can cause addiction

  • Brain development begins in the womb and continues to age 25. Using nicotine during this time frame can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. Each time a new memory is created, or a new skill is learned, stronger connections called synapses are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed

Aerosol: Can contain harmful substances, such as cancer-causing chemicals and tiny particles that reach deep into lungs.

Unintentional injuries

  • Defective e-cigarette batteries cause fires and explosions, some resulting in serious injuries. This most often occurs when e-cigarette batteries are charging

  • Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes

Youth Statistics

  • E-cigarettes are the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth in the U.S.

  • More than 60% of teens believe that e-cigarettes cause little or only some harm as long as they are used sometimes

  • In 2018, more than 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days

  • E-cigarette use, from 2017 to 2018, increased 78% among high school students (11.7% to 20.8%) and 48% among middle school students (3.3% to 4.9%)

Reasons named for using e-cigarettes:

  • Curiosity

  • Taste

  • The belief that e-cigarettes are less harmful than other tobacco products

Business Trends/Marketing

  • E-cigarettes are a 2.5 billion dollar business in the U.S. As of 2014, the e-cigarette industry spends $125 million a year to advertise their products

  • Flavored e-cigarettes are very popular among young adults. More than 9 of 10 young adult users said they use e-cigarettes flavored to taste like menthol, alcohol, candy, fruit, chocolate, or other sweets

  • E-cigarette marketing appeals to a young audience, featuring bright colors and flavors that youth find attractive and interesting


  • The top-selling e-cigarette brand in the U.S.

  • Is shaped like a USB flash drive. News outlets report widespread use by students in schools

  • All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. A single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes

  • Juuling: another term for vaping

On November 15, 2018, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. released a statement proposing new steps to protect youth by preventing access to flavored tobacco products and banning menthol in cigarettes.

FDA will hold a public hearing on January 19, 2019 to discuss efforts to eliminate youth e-cigarette use, with a focus on the potential role of drug therapies to support cessation and the issues impacting the development of such therapies.

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