Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, vape pipes, and mods, were first introduced to the United States in 2007. Since their introduction, they have skyrocketed in popularity, availability, and variety. E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat a liquid solution until it changes chemical phases to become an aerosol, which is then inhaled.5 E-cigarettes are, by California law, considered tobacco products. E-cigarettes can contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescents during critical periods of brain growth and development.5
E-cigarettes have become popular among youth in recent years. The rate of youth e-cigarette use has surpassed the rate of traditional cigarette use.5 E-liquid comes in over 7,700 flavors that can be appealing to youth such as Fruit Loops and Cap’n Crunch. Studies have demonstrated that appealing flavors are one of the main reasons that students experiment with e-cigarettes.5 Youth are bombarded with e-cigarette advertising exposure in retail stores, on the Internet, in television or movies, and in newspaper or magazines.5
E-cigarettes are still a fairly new product and there have been no studies done on the long-term health consequences of using e-cigarettes. We do, however, already know several of the dangers.
Here are some of the known dangers of using e-cigarettes:
Learn about the availability of flavored tobacco, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco related products in Colusa County at the Healthy Store for a Healthy Community Website.
- E-cigarette aerosol is not just a harmless water vapor.
- E-cigarette aerosol contains at least 10 chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.
- Flavoring chemicals in e-cigarettes have been linked to severe and irreversible lung diseases.
- Diacetyl is a chemical originally used in food flavorings. Diacetyl is now also used as a flavoring chemical in the manufacturing of e-cigarette juice.
- A Harvard School of Public Health study found that diacetyl was present in 75% of flavored e-cigarette liquids and refill liquids tested.3
- Diacetyl is associated with the development of the irreversible lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn lung.” Popcorn lung causes an irreversible loss of pulmonary function and damage to cell lining and airways.3 There is no treatment for this disease – the only cure is a lung transplant.
- E-cigarette poisonings have increased among young children.
- E-cigarette products can come in a variety of flavors and colors that can be enticing to young children.
- Ingestion of liquid nicotine can cause nausea, vomiting, abnormal heart beat, and even death.3
- E-liquid solutions can contain varying concentrations of nicotine, ranging from no nicotine to 100 mg per milliliter. A 10 mg dose of nicotine is lethal for a child.3
- E-cigarettes are NOT approved by the U.S. FDA to help people quit tobacco.
- E-cigarette use is actually strongly associated with use of other tobacco products. Youth that use e-cigarettes are almost 4 times more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes than someone who never used an e-cigarette.6