Skip Navigation  

Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)

Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery operated devices that heat and vaporize liquid which usually contains nicotine- the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products-flavorings, and other chemicals. Users inhale a mix of gases, also known as aerosol, and tiny particles into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.

E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).” Some e-cigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some resemble pens, USB flash drives, and other everyday items. The use of an e-cigarette is often referred to as “vaping”.

Contrary to popular belief, electronic cigarettes affect our environment and the individuals in it. In fact, research has shown that just five minutes of e-cigarette use has similar effects on the lungs as smoking a regular cigarette. Airways become obstructed and inflamed for those who use electronic cigarettes containing nicotine. Additionally, e-cigarettes can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.

 E-Cigarette Aerosol

E-cigarette aerosol is NOT harmless “water vapor”. The e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:

  • Nicotine
  • Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical that has been linked to lung disease
  • Propylene glycol, a lung and eye irritant
  • Formaldehyde and acetaldehyde, chemicals that cause lung disease and heart disease
  • Benzene, a chemical found in car exhaust
  • Ultrafine particles
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead

It is difficult for consumers to know what e-cigarette products contain because there are currently no regulations on the manufacturing of these products. For example, some e-cigarettes marketed as containing zero percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.

Health Effects of Using E-Cigarettes

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which has known health effects.

  • Nicotine is highly addictive.
  • Nicotine is toxic to developing fetuses.
  • Nicotine can harm adolescent and young adult brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.
  • Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant adults and their developing babies.
  • The e-liquid used in e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine. For example, one JUUL pod contains approximately 40 milligrams of nicotine which is equivalent to a one full pack of cigarettes (20 cigarettes).

E-cigarettes can cause unintended injuries.

  • Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions, some of which have resulted in serious injuries. Most explosions happened when the e-cigarette batteries were being charged.
  • In addition, acute nicotine exposure can be toxic. Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.

E-Cigarettes and Youth

Due to aggressive and effective marketing by the tobacco industry, non-smoking teens are drawn to e-cigarettes because of the various appealing sweet flavors. Just a few of the thousands of flavors currently on the market include, but not limited to: strawberry shortcake, mango, cotton candy, bubble gum, fruit punch, and even flavors that resemble popular candy and soda brands.

Research has shown that young people who use e-cigarettes are more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes in the future.