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E-Cigarettes: A Bad Habit

E-Cigarettes: A Bad Habit

On January 29, 2019, a 24-year-old man died two days after the vape pen he was using exploded, cutting his carotid artery. On December 28, 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Adams, issued a report on vaping in the U.S., especially 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

  • 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

  • From 2017 to 2018, e-cigarette use increased 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students

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

 FDA held a public hearing on January 18, 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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