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Get the Facts: Vaping

Posted on January 6, 2020

 Vaping, also known as “Juuling” when using the popular JUUL brand of e-cigarettes, has quickly become a popular activity among middle school and high school students.   

Appealing e-cigarette flavors including chocolate, sweet desserts and fruit combined with multimedia advertising has generated interest among teens across the country.  In fact, over 4.9 million middle and high school age kids used e-cigarettes in 2018.[1] 

Although initially e-cigarettes were purportedly less harmful than smoking regular cigarettes, physicians and scientists are discovering the many reasons that e-cigarettes such as JUUL may be as dangerous or more so than cigarettes.

Let’s start with the facts:

  1. Over 99% of e-cigarettes contain harmful substances including nicotine.  Some e-cigarette companies may claim ingredients to be “natural” or unharmful, but ingredients listed are not always what is found in vaping products.  Without oversight by the FDA to ascertain marketing claims, product labels may exclude certain substances.  When tested, nearly all e-cigarettes contain dangerous (acrolein) and/or addictive substances (nicotine).  Some JUUL pods have as much nicotine as a package of cigarettes.  Another common ingredient called acrolein can cause irreversible lung damage. 
  2. Exposure to nicotine among middle and high school students – and even college age kids – is highly dangerous because it can cause damage to the brain.  The brain is still in development through age 25. 
  3. E-cigarettes are powered by batteries that have been known to catch fire and explode.
  4. The e-liquid in e-cigarettes that becomes an aerosol is also very dangerous.  Exposure to this “e-juice” or “vape juice” through eyes or skin can cause damage, particularly in younger children.  Additionally, innocent bystanders exposed to e-cigarette use can be affected like secondhand smoke from tobacco smoking.
  5. E-cigarettes may look like pens, USB drives, or cigarettes, making them difficult to detect.
  6. The American Lung Association and the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) consider teen use of e-cigarettes to have reached epidemic levels.  In addition, the CDC, FDA (Food and Drug Administration), and local and state health partners are continuing to investigate reports of over 2,000 cases of lung injuries and 39 deaths related to the use of e-cigs.  They have discovered that E Acetate alone or in addition to other harmful substances may be to blame.  
  7. Smoking e-cigarettes increases the risk of becoming a regular smoker.  Research indicates that individuals who use e-cigs as teens have a higher likelihood of using regular tobacco cigarettes later.

E-cigarettes are highly addictive and harmful, especially to children, teens and adults under age 25.  If you know someone who vapes, you can send them the facts above and suggest that they visit the CDC website on e-cigarettes.  Packed with information along with key images, the CDC site is an excellent resource for understanding the truth about vaping.  Visit the CDC section on vaping here.  To learn more about the lung damage mentioned earlier, visit this part of the CDC website here.  Finally, visit this government resource for teens looking for help to quit smoking or vaping.

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[1] CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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