What Are Electronic Cigarettes?
- Electronic Cigarettes are sometimes called “E-cigs,” e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” or “electronic nicotine delivery systems”
- E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals that are inhaled.
- Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called “vaping” or “JUULing.”
- E-cigarettes can also be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.
Consumers have no way of knowing the doses they are inhaling, the types or concentrations of potentially harmful chemicals, or if e-cigarettes are safe for their intended use.”
– 2009 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
What Do We Know?
- More youth than adults in this country smoke e-cigarettes. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Since 2011, the prevalence of ever having tried e-cigarettes among middle and high school youth has tripled (from 0.6% to 5.3% for middle school students and 1.5% to 16 % for high school students). (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- 32.5% of Texas high school students and 11.3% of middle school students report ever having used an e-cigarette. (Texas Youth Tobacco Survey, 2018)
- 6% of middle school students and 18.9% of Texas high school students report using e-cigarettes in the past month. (Texas Youth Tobacco Survey, 2018)
- 20.8% report ever having tried e-cigarettes, and 4.7% report currently using e-cigarettes. (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017)
Travis County Adults:
- 19.8% of adult residents had ever used an e-cigarette or other electronic vaping product; 4% of adults are current e-cigarette users. (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2017)
E-Cigarettes and Health:
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine and can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.
- A common ingredient in e-cigarette flavoring is diacetyl. Diacetyl causes bronchiolitis obliterans, known as “popcorn lung”. It is a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs. This causes thickening and narrowing of the airways, which can lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, and is a serious health concern.
- Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions. Some explosions have resulted in serious injuries and death.
- E-cigarette use may produce or maintain nicotine dependence.
- Long-term effects are still being learned. Secondhand aerosol, or vapor, is NOT harmless water vapor.
- E-cigarettes are not approved cessation devices.
E-cigarettes and Youth/Young Adults:
- The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults.
- Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.
- Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.
- Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
Resources to Quit
Interested in quitting? Check out our How to Quit page for free resources.
For additional resources geared toward youth, visit CATCH My Breath, a best practices youth e-cigarette and JUUL prevention program developed by UT Health, or ASPIRE, an evidence-based program developed by MD Anderson to address traditional and emerging tobacco products.
Want to Learn More?
- CDC: Stay up-to-date with the facts about electronic cigarettes, including how to talk to youth.
- FDA: Find out how e-cigarettes are being regulated.
- Surgeon General: Get facts, data, and resources to help you talk to youth.
- Austin Public Health: Learn more about lung injury associated with e-cigarettes and how many cases are in our community, in Texas, and across the nation.
- To request a presentation to parents and/or educators working with teens, contact us!