Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol that the users then inhales. These oral devices simulate smoking and can deliver nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. Other names for e-cigarettes include e-cigs, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vape pens, vaporizers, e-cigars, and e-pipes.
Reasons to Be Concerned
- Aerosol produced is not harmless – Secondhand aerosol can contain nicotine, ultrafine particles, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals.
- These products are easily manipulated – Contents within liquid vary widely and do not always match the ingredients or amounts listed on the labels. Studies have also found some e-cigarettes contain high levels of formaldehyde and diacetyl, chemicals harmful to the human body.
- These products can be misused – E-cigarettes have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a cessation device and often users continue to smoke regular cigarettes as well as use e-cigarettes.
Youth Are Especially Vulnerable
- These products are marketed to youth using flavors – E-cigarettes are available in a wide variety of flavors, including many that are especially appealing to youth. More than 85% of e-cigarette users ages 12-17 use flavored e-cigarettes, and flavors are the leading reason for youth use.
- These products are not safe for youth– Nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain.
- E-cigarettes are currently the most used tobacco product among youth – In the last year, e-cigarette use has increased by 78% among high school students and 48% among middle school students.
- E-cigarettes are strongly linked to the use of other tobacco products – E-cigarette use is associated with increased intentions to smoke conventional cigarettes.
- Immediate action to protect youth is required – The U.S. Surgeon General urges immediate action to protect our nation’s young people from a lifetime of nicotine addiction. In November 2018, the FDA announced the agency will be revisiting compliance policy to further prevent youth access to flavored e-cigarette products.
What You Should Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family
- Be an example, if you smoke, quit! It’s never too late to become a non-smoker. Call 1-866-QUIT-YES or visit www.quityes.org
- Share facts and resources. Additional e-cigarette facts and resources can be found on the following websites:
- Cook County Department of Public Health: cookcountypublichealth.org/healthy-hotspot/tobacco-free-living
- FDA “The Real Cost”: therealcost.betobaccofree.hhs.gov
- Office of the U.S. Surgeon General “Know The Risks E-Cigarettes & Young People”: e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/
- Truth Campaign E-Cigarette Cessation Support: thisisquitting.com or text QUIT to 706-222-QUIT