- 5 Vaping Facts You Need to Know
- 1: Vaping Is Less Harmful Than Smoking, but It’s Still Not Safe
- 2: Research Suggests Vaping Is Bad for Your Heart and Lungs
- 3: Electronic Cigarettes Are Just As Addictive As Traditional Ones
- 5: A New Generation Is Getting Hooked on Nicotine
- Get the Facts — Electronic Cigarettes (E-cigarettes) and Similar Vapor Products
- Total Reported Cases Statewide: 254
- Who Is Using E-cigarettes and Why?
- Nicotine is Addictive and Dangerous for Youth and Young Adults
- E-cigarette Aerosol is Harmful
- E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults is a Major Public Health Concern
- What New York State is Doing to Protect Youth from Nicotine Addiction
- E-cigarettes are not Proven to Help People Quit Smoking
- American Cancer Society Position Statement on Electronic Cigarettes
- No youth or young adult should begin using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.
- E-cigarettes should not be used to quit smoking.
- Current e-cigarette users should not also smoke cigarettes or switch to smoking cigarettes, andpeople whoformerlysmokednow using e-cigarettes should not revert to smoking.
- Guidance for Youth Who Currently Use E-cigarettes
- Guidance for Adults Who Currently Use E-cigarettes
- Guidance for Adults Who Currently Smoke
- Regulation of E-cigarettes
- Can e-cigarettes help you quit smoking?
- E-cigarettes to quit smoking
- What’s the best way to quit smoking?
- Vaping: What You Need to Know
- What Are the Health Effects of Vaping?
- How Do E-cigarettes Work?
- Do You Have to Vape Every Day to Get Addicted?
- What About E-cigarettes That Don't Have Nicotine?
- Why Should People Who Vape Quit?
- How Can Kids and Teens Quit Vaping?
- How Can Parents Help?
- Using e-cigarettes to stop smoking
- What are e-cigarettes and how do they work?
- What types of e-cigarette are there?
- How do I choose the right e-cigarette for me?
- Will an e-cigarette help me stop smoking?
- How safe are e-cigarettes?
- What about risks from nicotine?
- Are e-cigarettes safe to use in pregnancy?
- Do they pose a fire risk?
- Reporting a safety concern with e-cigarettes
- Is e-cigarette vapour harmful to others?
- Can I get an e-cigarette from my GP?
- More information
5 Vaping Facts You Need to Know
Mens Health Heart Health Know Your Heart Risks
If you have thought about trying to kick a smoking habit, you’re not alone. Nearly 7 of 10 smokers say they want to stop. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health — smoking harms nearly every organ in your body, including your heart. Nearly one-third of deaths from heart disease are the result of smoking and secondhand smoke.
You might be tempted to turn to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping devices) as a way to ease the transition from traditional cigarettes to not smoking at all.
But is smoking e-cigarettes (also called vaping) better for you than using tobacco products? Can e-cigarettes help you to stop smoking once and for all? Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H.
, director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, shares health information about vaping.
1: Vaping Is Less Harmful Than Smoking, but It’s Still Not Safe
E-cigarettes heat nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavorings and other chemicals to create an aerosol that you inhale. Regular tobacco cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic. While we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in e-cigarettes, Blaha says “there’s almost no doubt that they expose you to fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarettes.”
However, there has also been an outbreak of lung injuries and deaths associated with vaping. As of Jan. 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 60 deaths in patients with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI).
“These cases appear to predominantly affect people who modify their vaping devices or use black market modified e-liquids. This is especially true for vaping products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC),” explains Blaha.
The CDC has identified vitamin E acetate as a chemical of concern among people with EVALI. Vitamin E acetate is a thickening agent often used in THC vaping products, and it was found in all lung fluid samples of EVALI patients examined by the CDC.
The CDC recommends that people:
- Do not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products
- Avoid using informal sources, such as friends, family or online dealers to obtain a vaping device.
- Do not modify or add any substances to a vaping device that are not intended by the manufacturer.
2: Research Suggests Vaping Is Bad for Your Heart and Lungs
Nicotine is the primary agent in both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and it is highly addictive. It causes you to crave a smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms if you ignore the craving. Nicotine is also a toxic substance. It raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and the lihood of having a heart attack.
Is vaping bad for you? There are many unknowns about vaping, including what chemicals make up the vapor and how they affect physical health over the long term. “People need to understand that e-cigarettes are potentially dangerous to your health,” says Blaha.
“Emerging data suggests links to chronic lung disease and asthma, and associations between dual use of e-cigarettes and smoking with cardiovascular disease.
You’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand and that are probably not safe.”
3: Electronic Cigarettes Are Just As Addictive As Traditional Ones
Both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes contain nicotine, which research suggests may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
What’s worse, says Blaha, many e-cigarette users get even more nicotine than they would from a tobacco product — you can buy extra-strength cartridges, which have a higher concentration of nicotine, or you can increase the e-cigarette’s voltage to get a greater hit of the substance.
Vaping and e-cigarettes are sometimes promoted as ways to help cigarette smokers quit. But what about the reverse? Can vaping lead to regular cigarette smoking later on?
Although they’ve been marketed as an aid to help you quit smoking, e-cigarettes have not received Food and Drug Administration approval as smoking cessation devices. A recent study found that most people who intended to use e-cigarettes to kick the nicotine habit ended up continuing to smoke both traditional and e-cigarettes.
In the light of the EVALI outbreak, the CDC advises adults who use e-cigarettes for smoking cessation to weigh the risks and benefits and consider use of other FDA-approved smoking cessation options.
5: A New Generation Is Getting Hooked on Nicotine
Among youth, e-cigarettes are more popular than any traditional tobacco product. In 2015, the U.S. surgeon general reported that e-cigarette use among high school students had increased by 900%, and 40% of young e-cigarette users had never smoked regular tobacco.
According to Blaha, there are three reasons e-cigarettes may be particularly enticing to young people. First, many teens believe that vaping is less harmful than smoking. Second, e-cigarettes have a lower per-use cost than traditional cigarettes. Finally, vape cartridges are often formulated with flavorings such as apple pie and watermelon that appeal to younger users.
Both youths and adults find the lack of smoke appealing. With no smell, e-cigarettes reduce the stigma of smoking.
“What I find most concerning about the rise of vaping is that people who would’ve never smoked otherwise, especially youth, are taking up the habit,” says Blaha. “It’s one thing if you convert from cigarette smoking to vaping. It’s quite another thing to start up nicotine use with vaping. And, it often leads to using traditional tobacco products down the road.”
There’s a strong link between smoking and cardiovascular disease, and between smoking and cancer. But the sooner you quit, the quicker your body can rebound and repair itself. Talk to your doctor about what smoking cessation program or tools would be best for you.
One of the best things you can do to protect and improve your health is to stay informed. Your Health is a FREE e-newsletter that serves as your smart, simple connection to the world-class expertise of Johns Hopkins.
Get the Facts — Electronic Cigarettes (E-cigarettes) and Similar Vapor Products
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has received numerous reports from New York State physicians of severe pulmonary (lung-related) illness among patients ranging from 14 to 71 years of age who were using at least one vape product prior to becoming ill.
Laboratory test results show very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing samples analyzed by New York State’s Wadsworth Laboratory as part of this investigation. At least one vitamin E acetate containing vape product has been linked to nearly every patient that has submitted a product for testing.
Anyone using vape products and experiencing symptoms including shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, fever, nausea or vomiting should contact their health care provider immediately. Health care providers should report possible cases to their local poison control center (1-800-222-1222).
People should never use products purchased “off the street” because they may contain unknown and harmful ingredients. Cannabis-containing products are not legally available in New York State for recreational use.
Total Reported Cases Statewide: 254
Electronic cigarettes and similar vapor products are tobacco products.1 Most contain a battery that heats a flavored liquid, usually containing nicotine, into an aerosol users inhale. The liquid is often called e-liquid or e-juice.
E-liquids usually contain nicotine and flavorings in a base of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG). Nicotine is highly addictive and harms brain development. Some flavorings, such as diacetyl, can cause serious disease.
PG and VG are generally recognized as safe to eat but inhaling them can irritate the eyes, nose and throat and make it hard to breathe.
Some other names for electronic cigarettes are:
- e-cigarettes, e-smokes, e-cigs and cigas;
- vapes, personal vaporizers (PVs) and advanced personal vaporizers (APVs);
- mods, pod mods, pod vape devices, vape mods and box mods;
- wop machines;
- pens and vape pens; and
- electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
Other electronic vaping products that that use e-liquids include e-cigars, e-pipes and hookah pens (e-hookah).
The top-selling e-cigarette brand is a USB-shaped device called JUUL. News outlets and social media sites report widespread use of JUUL by students in schools, including in classrooms and bathrooms. All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. Similar products are available.
Use of an e-cigarette is often called «vaping» or «JUULing.»
Who Is Using E-cigarettes and Why?
Youth and young adults are the primary users of e-cigarettes.1,2 High school students use e-cigarettes at rates five times higher than adults over age 25.3,4 Youth and young adults say their reasons for trying and using e-cigarettes are flavor and taste, curiosity and the belief that they are less harmful than other tobacco products.1
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Currently, e-cigarettes are not as strictly regulated as cigarettes. Except for menthol, the FDA does not allow cigarettes to contain flavored tobacco.
This is not the case for e-cigarettes. E-cigarette companies know youth are attracted to many of the over 15,000 e-liquid flavors.
Some of the sweet and fruity flavors that appeal to young people are cereal and milk, mango, cherry cola, bubblegum, crème, chocolate mint, blueberry cheesecake and fruit punch.
Nicotine is Addictive and Dangerous for Youth and Young Adults
Most e-liquids contain nicotine, the highly addictive chemical in all tobacco products. Nicotine is harmful for young people.1 Nicotine can harm the developing brain of adolescents and young adults, which can:
- lead to lower impulse control and mood disorders;
- disrupt attention and learning among youth and young adults; and
- prime the developing brain for addiction to alcohol and other drugs, such as cocaine.1
E-cigarette Aerosol is Harmful
The e-cigarette aerosol users inhale and exhale is not harmless water vapor. Some e-liquids are advertised as nicotine free, but this may not be true. With or without nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol is unsafe. E-cigarette aerosol can contain:
- fine and ultrafine toxic particles that can interfere with the growth and work of the lungs and increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks;
- heavy metals such as lead, tin and nickel;
- chemicals used for flavoring such as diacetyl that can cause a serious lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans; and
- volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause long-term health effects including cancer.1
Many of the chemicals found in cigarette smoke are also found in e-cigarette aerosol. They include:
- formaldehyde, also found in embalming fluid;1,7
- cadmium, used in batteries;1,8
- benzene, found in gasoline;1,9 and
- toluene, an industrial solvent.1,10
E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults is a Major Public Health Concern
- Youth use e-cigarettes more than cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and hookah.3
- Almost five times as many high school students in New York State use e-cigarettes than smoke cigarettes.3
- The New York State smoking rate among youth is at a record low (4.3%), but their e-cigarette use doubled between 2014 and 2016 (from 10.5% to 20.6%).3
- Few high school students say they plan to try smoking, but increasing numbers are open to trying e-cigarettes.5
- More than half of teens believe nondaily e-cigarette use causes little or some harm.1
- Of young people who use e-cigarettes, a third falsely believe nondaily e-cigarette use is harmless.1
- E-cigarette use does not prevent from smoking. Adolescents and young adults who use e-cigarettes are at increased risk for starting smoking and continuing to smoke.1,6
- More than half of high school students and young adults who smoke cigarettes also use e-cigarettes (called dual use).1
What New York State is Doing to Protect Youth from Nicotine Addiction
Almost all adults addicted to nicotine started smoking or using other tobacco products in their teens. Nearly 9 10 adult smokers started smoking by age 18, and 99 percent started by age 26.11
New York State's strong laws and programs protect youth from accessing tobacco products and denormalize tobacco use to prevent lifelong addiction, illness and early death.
As of November 22, 2017, e-cigarettes and similar devices are included in the state's Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits their use and tobacco smoking in virtually all indoor public areas, including workplaces, bars and restaurants.
State law also prohibits the use of tobacco products and e-cigarettes on the grounds of all public and private pre-schools, nursery schools, and elementary and secondary schools as well as in school vehicles used to transport children or school personnel.
E-cigarettes are not Proven to Help People Quit Smoking
Most youth and young adults do not report using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.1
Most adult smokers want to quit.12 Every year, more than half of smokers quit for at least one day as an attempt to stop smoking.
12,13 But, highly addictive nicotine makes it hard to quit for good, and fewer than one in 10 smokers successfully quits for good.12 Some smokers have heard that e-cigarettes can help them quit.
Researchers are investigating if substituting e-cigarettes for cigarettes may help adults quit smoking, but this is unproven.14,15
E-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved smoking cessation product. However, the FDA has approved seven products proven to help smokers quit:
- Five nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs):
- patch (available over-the-counter and by prescription for Medicaid enrollees)
- gum (available over-the-counter and by prescription for Medicaid enrollees)
- lozenge (available over-the-counter and by prescription for Medicaid enrollees)
- nasal spray (by prescription)
- inhaler (by prescription); and
- Two non-nicotine oral medicines:
- varenicline tartrate, brand name Chantix® (by prescription)
- bupropion hydrochloride, brand names Zyban® and Wellbutrin® (by prescription).14
People who smoke or use other tobacco products can improve their chances of quitting for good with treatment from their health care provider.
13 Treatment that includes brief counseling and FDA-approved medication can double or triple the chances of permanently quitting.15 To learn more, talk to your health care provider.
For additional assistance, call or visit the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487).
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016.
- New York State Department of Health. Prevalence of Cigarette Smoking, Use of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems, and Dual Use by Youth, Young Adults, and Adults in NYS, 2014. StatShot November 2015; Vol. 8, No. 5.
- New York State Department of Health. Youth Cigarette Use at All‐Time Low, ENDS Use Doubles. StatShot March 2017; Vol. 10, No. 1.
- QuickStats: Percentage of Adults Who Ever Used an E-cigarette and Percentage Who Currently Use E-cigarettes, by Age Group — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:892.
- New York State Department of Health.
Openness to Smoking Conventional Cigarettes and Openness to Using Electronic Cigarettes and Similar Devices among NYS Youth. July 2017; Vol. 10, No. 4.
- New York State Department of Health. Use of Electronic Cigarettes and Similar Devices among NYS Youth, 2014‐2016. StatShot December 2017; Vol. 10, No. 5
- National Cancer Institute.
Formaldehyde and Cancer Risk. (last reviewed 2011 June 10)
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Cadmium — Overview.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Benzene – Facts About Benzene. (last reviewed 2013 Feb 14)
- Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry. Toxic Substances Portal – Toluene.
(last reviewed 2015 Jan 21)
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2012.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
- Babb S, Malarcher A, Schauer G, Asman K, Jamal A. Quitting Smoking Among Adults — United States, 2000–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;65:1457–1464.
Food and Drug Administration. FDA 101: Smoking Cessation Products. (page last updated: 2017 August 23)
- Fiore MC, Jaén CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update—Clinical Practice Guidelines. Rockville (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2008.
American Cancer Society Position Statement on Electronic Cigarettes
The American Cancer Society (ACS) first released a position statement on e-cigarettes in February 2018. At that time, the ACS emphasized that no young person should start using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.
However, the use of e-cigarettes in young people has since skyrocketed to epidemic proportion with nearly 30% of high school students reporting using an e-cigarette in the past 30 days and 12% reporting using an e-cigarette daily.
This updated position statement replaces all previous ACS statements on e-cigarettes and guides the organization’s tobacco control and cessation efforts regarding these products. The ACS position statement will continue to be updated based upon emerging public health trends and evolving science.
No youth or young adult should begin using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes.
The ACS encourages young people currently using any of these products to ask for help in quitting and to quit as soon as possible.
E-cigarettes should not be used to quit smoking.
The ACS does not recommend the use of e-cigarettes as a cessation method. No e-cigarette has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a safe and effective cessation product.
Current e-cigarette users should not also smoke cigarettes or switch to smoking cigarettes, and people who formerly smoked now using e-cigarettes should not revert to smoking.
All tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, pose a risk to the health of the user. Beginning smoking, switching to smoking, or reverting to smoking exposes the user to potentially devastating health effects.
Using e-cigarettes, or “vaping,” are terms used synonymously to refer to the use of a wide variety of electronic, battery-operated devices that aerosolize, but do not burn, liquids to release nicotine and other substances.
Nicotine-containing e-cigarettes are regulated as “tobacco products” by the FDA because the nicotine is derived from the tobacco plant. E-cigarettes pose a threat to the health of users and the harms are becoming increasingly apparent.
In the past few years, the use of these products has increased at an alarming rate among young people in significant part because the newest, re-engineered generation of e-cigarettes more effectively delivers large amounts of nicotine to the brain. Many e-cigarettes sold in the U.S.
contain far more nicotine than e-cigarettes sold elsewhere, which increases the risk of addiction and harm to the developing brains of youth and young adults. Marketing tactics targeting young people have contributed to the rapid increase in use.
The long-term risks of exclusive use of e-cigarettes are not fully known but evidence is accumulating that e-cigarette use has negative effects on the cardiovascular system and lungs. Without immediate measures to stop epidemic use of these products, the long-term adverse health effects will increase.
Guidance for Youth Who Currently Use E-cigarettes
The harms of e-cigarette use in young people include not only the deleterious effects of nicotine, but also exposure of the lungs and airways to potentially toxic solvents and flavoring chemicals.
The rapidly rising rates of use in young people and the high rates of daily use strongly suggest that many are addicted to nicotine and will have difficulty in stopping use of all tobacco products.
While some young people may be able to quit e-cigarette use on their own, others, particularly daily users, are ly to find this to be very difficult.
The ACS encourages adolescent users who find it difficult to quit to ask for help from health care professionals.
Parents should learn all they can about e-cigarette use and be prepared to help their children get the assistance they need. For more information go to cancer.org/e-cigarettes.
The future pattern of tobacco product use by currently-addicted youth e-cigarette users is unknown, but the only pathway to eliminating the harms of e-cigarettes is to quit using them as soon as possible and to not start using any other tobacco products, such as cigarettes. Without urgent and effective public health action, e-cigarettes will lead to a new generation of nicotine-addicted individuals.
Guidance for Adults Who Currently Use E-cigarettes
Some individuals who smoke choose to try e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking. Since smoking kills fully half of all long-time users, successfully stopping smoking leads to well-documented health benefits.
Nonetheless, adults who smoke who switch to using e-cigarettes expose themselves to potentially serious ongoing health risks.
Thus, people who smoked formerly who are currently using e-cigarettes, whether alone or in combination with combustible tobacco products, should be encouraged and assisted to stop using all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, as soon as possible both to eliminate their exposure to ongoing health risks and avoid perpetuating addiction. If they are unable to quit e-cigarettes on their own, they should seek help from a health care professional or quitline. Individuals who are not yet able to stop using e-cigarettes should be strongly discouraged from simultaneous, or “dual,” use of any combustible tobacco products, including cigarettes. Continuing to smoke exposes the individual to enormous harms, irrespective of whether the individual is using e-cigarettes part of the time. All individuals should also be strongly counseled to not revert to smoking.
While some e-cigarette users quit on their own, many have difficulty quitting and should seek help from their healthcare providers or other support services such as their state quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) or the American Cancer Society (1-800-ACS-2345).
Guidance for Adults Who Currently Smoke
All adults who smoke conventional cigarettes or other combustible (burned) tobacco products should be advised to quit smoking at the earliest opportunity, recognizing that quitting is hard and often takes repeated, dedicated efforts.
Individuals who smoke are strongly encouraged to consult with their doctor, pharmacist or other medical professional to seek cessation support and, where deemed appropriate, to use FDA-approved medications including nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) and/or recommended oral medications, preferably combined with individual or group behavioral counseling, which significantly increases the lihood of success. Individuals can also seek cessation support by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW or 1-800-ACS-2345.
Regulation of E-cigarettes
The ACS and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) support several critical policy approaches to reduce youth e-cigarette use without inadvertently incentivizing the use of the leading cause of preventable death – combustible tobacco products – as an alternative.
The FDA must effectively regulate all e-cigarettes as soon as possible, including: enforcing premarket reviews; restricting advertising and marketing to protect youth; preventing the dissemination of false and misleading messages and imagery; and requiring strict product standards.
The FDA has the authority to regulate all substances in tobacco products, including, but not limited to, flavoring chemicals and nicotine.
The FDA must also continue to demand testing of all substances used in e-cigarettes, as well as the relative safety of the devices themselves (for example, preventing exploding batteries).
The ACS and ACS CAN encourage prohibiting the use of all flavors, including mint and menthol, in all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Furthermore, the FDA should proceed aggressively with a proposal to reduce nicotine in all combustible tobacco products to non-addictive levels and also strictly limit the amount of nicotine permitted in e-cigarettes.
Can e-cigarettes help you quit smoking?
You’ve made the decision to quit smoking. Can e-cigarettes help you quit?
Brands JUUL have become popular in part because they claim to offer people who smoke a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.
And regular cigarettes are deadly. They get nicotine into your system by burning tobacco leaves. As a result, smokers take more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, as well as lung-choking tar, into their bodies. Those chemicals damage almost every organ and system in your body and cause about 14 different cancers.
E-cigarettes, on the other hand, deliver nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves without burning the leaves. Users inhale an aerosol that contains nicotine as well as other chemicals associated with the vaporizing of the e-liquid.
There is no debate that quitting regular cigarettes is one of the best things you can do for your health. Here are some things to consider before you launch a plan to use e-cigarettes to quit.
E-cigarettes to quit smoking
E-cigarettes may be less harmful than regular cigarettes but they are not harmless.
Because they are new, unstandardized and vary widely by manufacturer, we simply do not know what their long-term health effects will be.
It took decades of research to prove the deadly consequences of cigarettes, a product that was once endorsed by physicians. We are just beginning this process with e-cigarettes.
What we do know is that even though e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco and don’t put smoke into your body, they may still contain toxic chemicals. The contents of e-cigarettes are unregulated, so we don’t know exactly what chemicals are in every brand or flavor and the effects of inhaling those chemicals over time has not been tested.
Some reports state that e-cigarettes are less harmful than cigarettes. But the fact is, switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is not the best option for your health. It is best to quit all forms of tobacco. There are other proven, safe and approved ways to do it.
RELATED: Quit smoking: 7 products to strike out nicotine
You may end up smoking both e-cigarettes and cigarettes, and that’s worse than just smoking cigarettes. There is no clear evidence that people who switch to e-cigarettes stay switched. Instead of transitioning from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, some smokers end up using both.
“People who vape and smoke have worse coughing and shortness of breath than people who only smoke,” says Maher Karam-Hage, M.D., medical director of the Tobacco Treatment Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
This is ly due to the added throat and airway irritation caused by e-cigarettes. The toxins in cigarettes become more harmful because your throat and airway is more irritated and inflamed.
You’re still dependent on nicotine. Switching to e-cigarettes is not a quit-smoking plan. Even if you transition completely to e-cigarettes, you’re still dependent on nicotine (a tobacco product), and putting harmful chemicals into your body. What’s worse, if you use both during your transition, you will multiply the health problems caused by each product.
Research-based smoking cessation methods help you wean yourself off nicotine over time and manage your cravings for cigarettes. Switching to e-cigarettes keeps your nicotine addiction going strong, with no exit plan.
What’s the best way to quit smoking?
What’s the best way to quit smoking? Let’s look at some numbers.
Quitting cold turkey has a low success rate. Studies show that only 5-7% of smokers who try to quit by stopping cold turkey are successful.
E-cigarettes have an uncertain success rate. Research on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a tool to help quit smoking is limited. In one 2019 study of 886 smokers, people who used e-cigarettes were twice as ly to stop regular cigarettes than people who used medicinal nicotine replacements such as patches, gum, lozenges and other nicotine replacement tools.
But use of e-cigarettes at the end of the trial was high. People who quit using patches, gums and the other alternatives were more ly to have quit nicotine completely. They no longer needed their patches.
People who used e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking were now faced with a new challenge: how to quit e-cigarettes.
Few other studies are available and more research is needed before we can say for sure how helpful e-cigarettes are for people who want to quit smoking.
If you want to quit smoking, try treatment that includes medication,patches, lozenges and gum first
Smoking cessation programs are safe and proven to work. The best way to quit is with a comprehensive approach that includes medications or medicinal nicotine replacements and psychological support.
For example, MD Anderson’s Tobacco Treatment Program combines medication and counseling. Within eight weeks of joining the program, up to 45% of the participants quit smoking.
Many who don’t quit completely cut down cigarette use dramatically.
They have drastically reduced their health risks from smoking regular cigarettes without exposing themselves to the risks of using another tobacco product such as e-cigarettes.
«If you want to quit smoking, try treatment that includes medication, patches, lozenges and gum first, because they are safe and are proven to help smokers quit,» says Karam-Hage.
In addition, programs that take that approach usually offer medication, counseling and are even better when they treat other issues that can make it harder to quit smoking, depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Don’t have the time or money to get professional help? You have options. Contact or visit one of these free government quit lines or website:
- Call 800-784-8669 (800-QUIT NOW)
- Text Quit to 47848
- Visit www.smokefree.gov
If you are in the Houston area and are interested in participating in a clinical study to quit smoking you can call 713-792-2265 to see if you are eligible.
Any program to help you quit smoking should include a plan to help you deal with your nicotine addiction and reduce nicotine cravings over time. Getting cigarettes your life is a great goal. Dealing with nicotine addiction is the ultimate goal.
Vaping: What You Need to Know
Vaping is the inhaling of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or other vaping device.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered smoking devices. They have cartridges filled with a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and chemicals. The liquid is heated into a vapor, which the person inhales. That's why using e-cigarettes is called «vaping.»
What Are the Health Effects of Vaping?
Vaping hasn't been around long enough for us to know how it affects the body over time. But health experts are reporting serious lung damage in people who vape, including some deaths.
Vaping puts nicotine into the body. Nicotine is highly addictive and can:
- slow brain development in kids and teens and affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention, and mood
- increase the risk of other types of addiction as adults
- irritate the lungs
- may cause serious lung damage and even death
- can lead to smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco use
Some people use e-cigarettes to vape marijuana, THC oil, and other dangerous chemicals. Besides irritating the lungs, these drugs also affect how someone thinks, acts, and feels.
How Do E-cigarettes Work?
There are different kinds of e-cigarettes. But many people use the Juul. This e-cigarette looks a flash drive and can be charged in a laptop's USB port. It makes less smoke than other e-cigarettes, so some teens use them to vape at home and in school. The Juul pod's nicotine levels are the same as in a full pack of cigarettes.
Do You Have to Vape Every Day to Get Addicted?
Even if someone doesn't vape every day, they can still get addicted. How quickly someone gets addicted varies. Some people get addicted even if they don't vape every day.
What About E-cigarettes That Don't Have Nicotine?
Most e-cigarettes do have nicotine. Even e-cigarettes that don't have nicotine have chemicals in them. These chemicals can irritate and damage the lungs. The long-term effects of e-cigarettes that don't have nicotine are not known.
Why Should People Who Vape Quit?
People who vape need the right motivation to quit. Wanting to be the best, healthiest version of themselves is an important reason to quit vaping. Here are some others:
Unknown health effects: The long-term health consequences of vaping are not known. Recent studies report serious lung damage in people who vape, and even some deaths.
Addiction: Addiction in the growing brain may set up pathways for later addiction to other substances.
Brain risks: Nicotine affects brain development in kids and teens. This can make it harder to learn and concentrate. Some of the brain changes are permanent and can affect mood and impulse control later in life.
Use of other tobacco products: Studies show that vaping makes it more ly that someone will try other tobacco products, regular cigarettes, cigars, hookahs, and smokeless tobacco.
Toxins (poisons): The vapor made from e-cigarettes is not made of water. The vapor contains harmful chemicals and very fine particles that are inhaled into the lungs and exhaled into the environment.
Sports:To do their best in sports. Vaping may lead to lung inflammation (irritation).
Money: Vaping is expensive! The cost of the cartridges over time starts to add up. Instead, someone could spend that money on other things that they need or enjoy.
To go against tobacco company advertising: Many e-cigarettes are made by the same companies that produce regular cigarettes. Their marketing targets young people by making fun flavors for e-cigarettes and showing young, healthy people vaping. They are trying to make kids and teens of today into their new, lifetime customers.
How Can Kids and Teens Quit Vaping?
For kids and teens who want to quit, it can help to:
- Decide why they want to quit and write it down or put it in their phone. They can look at the reason(s) when they feel the urge to vape.
- Pick a day to stop vaping. They can put it on the calendar and tell supportive friends and family that they're quitting on that day.
- Get rid of all vaping supplies.
- Download tools (such as apps and texting programs) to their phone that can help with cravings and give encouragement while they're trying to stop vaping.
- Understand withdrawal. Nicotine addiction leads to very strong cravings for nicotine. It can also lead to:
- feeling tired, cranky, angry, or depressed
- trouble concentrating
- trouble sleeping
The signs of withdrawal are strongest in the first few days after stopping. They get better over the following days and weeks.
How Can Parents Help?
To help kids understand the risks of vaping and take control of their health, you can:
- Share the just-for-teens version of this article with your child.
- Suggest that your child look into local programs and websites that help people quit vaping. Your health care provider can help you and your child find the right support.
- Lend your support as your teen tries to quit.
- Set a good example by taking care of your own health. If you smoke or vape, make the commitment to quit.
Talk to your kids about the reports of serious lung damage, and even deaths, in people who vape. Call your doctor right away if your child or teen vapes and has:
Using e-cigarettes to stop smoking
In recent years, e-cigarettes have become a very popular stop smoking aid in the UK. Also known as vapes or e-cigs, they're far less harmful than cigarettes and can help you quit smoking for good.
What are e-cigarettes and how do they work?
An e-cigarette is a device that allows you to inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke.
E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco and do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most damaging elements in tobacco smoke.
They work by heating a liquid that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine, and flavourings.
Using an e-cigarette is known as vaping.
What types of e-cigarette are there?
There are a variety of models available:
- Cigas look similar to tobacco cigarettes and can be disposable or rechargeable.
- Vape pens are shaped a pen or small tube, with a tank to store e-liquid, replaceable coils and rechargeable batteries.
- Pod systems are compact rechargeable devices, often shaped a USB stick or a pebble, with e-liquid capsules.
- Mods come in different shapes and sizes, but are generally the largest e-cigarette devices. They have a refillable tank, longer lasting rechargeable batteries, and variable power.
How do I choose the right e-cigarette for me?
A rechargeable e-cigarette with a refillable tank delivers nicotine more effectively and quickly than a disposable model and is ly to give you a better chance of quitting smoking.
- If you're a lighter smoker, you could try a ciga, vape pen or pod system.
- If you're a heavier smoker, it's advisable to try a vape pen, pod system or mod.
- It's also important to choose the right strength of e-liquid to satisfy your needs.
A specialist vape shop can help find the right device and liquid for you.
You can get advice from a specialist vape shop or your local stop smoking service.
Will an e-cigarette help me stop smoking?
Many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette. There's growing evidence that they can be effective.
Using an e-cigarette can help you manage your nicotine cravings. To get the best it, make sure you're using it as much as you need to and with the right strength of nicotine in your e-liquid.
A major UK clinical trial published in 2019 found that, when combined with expert face-to-face support, people who used e-cigarettes to quit smoking were twice as ly to succeed as people who used other nicotine replacement products, such as patches or gum.
You will not get the full benefit from vaping unless you stop smoking cigarettes completely. You can get advice from a specialist vape shop or your local stop smoking service.
Getting expert help from your local stop smoking service gives you the best chance of quitting smoking for good.
Find your local stop smoking service
How safe are e-cigarettes?
In the UK, e-cigarettes are tightly regulated for safety and quality.
They're not completely risk free, but they carry a small fraction of the risk of cigarettes.
E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, two of the most harmful elements in tobacco smoke.
The liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.
What about risks from nicotine?
While nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it's relatively harmless.
Almost all of the harm from smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic.
Nicotine replacement therapy has been widely used for many years to help people stop smoking and is a safe treatment.
Are e-cigarettes safe to use in pregnancy?
Little research has been conducted into the safety of e-cigarettes in pregnancy, but they're ly to be much less harmful to a pregnant woman and her baby than cigarettes.
If you're pregnant, licensed NRT products such as patches and gum are the recommended option to help you stop smoking.
But if you find using an e-cigarette helpful for quitting and staying smokefree, it's much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.
Do they pose a fire risk?
There have been instances of e-cigarettes exploding or catching fire.
As with all rechargeable electrical devices, the correct charger should be used and the device should not be left charging unattended or overnight.
Reporting a safety concern with e-cigarettes
If you suspect you have experienced a side effect to your health from using your e-cigarette or would to report a product defect, report these via the Yellow Card Scheme.
Is e-cigarette vapour harmful to others?
There's no evidence so far that vaping causes harm to other people around you.
This is in contrast to secondhand smoke from smoking, which is known to be very harmful to health.
Can I get an e-cigarette from my GP?
E-cigarettes are not currently available from the NHS on prescription, so you cannot get one from your GP.
You can buy them from specialist vape shops, some pharmacies and other retailers, or on the internet.
For more information and advice on using e-cigarettes to help quit smoking, visit Better Health.
Page last reviewed: 29 March 2019
Next review due: 29 March 2022