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11/28/23 Public Health Education Topic: E-Cigarettes (Vaping)

What are e-cigarettes?

  • E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid.

  • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.

  • E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).”

  • Some e-cigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some resemble pens, USB sticks, and other everyday items. Larger devices such as tank systems, or “mods,” do not resemble other tobacco products.

  • Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called “vaping.”

  • E-cigarettes can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.

What are the health effects of using e-cigarettes? E-cigarettes are still fairly new, and scientists are still learning about their long-term health effects. Here is what we know now. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which has known health effects.

  • Nicotine is highly addictive.

  • Nicotine is toxic to developing fetuses.

  • Nicotine can harm adolescent and young adult brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.

  • Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant adults and their developing babies.

Besides nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol can contain substances that harm the body.

  • This includes cancer-causing chemicals and tiny particles that reach deep into lungs. However, e-cigarette aerosol generally contains fewer harmful chemicals than smoke from burned tobacco products.

E-cigarettes can cause unintended injuries.

  • Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions, some of which have resulted in serious injuries. Most explosions happened when the e-cigarette batteries were being charged.

    • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) collects data to help address this issue. You can report an e-cigarette explosion, or any other unexpected health or safety issue with an e-cigarette, here.

  • In addition, acute nicotine exposure can be toxic. Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.

Learn more about E-Cigarettes by visiting:


Utilize this link to view the CDC E-Cigarette or Vaping Products Visual Dictionary:



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