Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol (vapor) produced by an e-cigarette or other electronic drug delivery devices. The prevalence of e-cigarette usage (vaping) among US youth increased from 2011-2018, with
middle and high school youth reporting use in the 2019
Monitoring the Future
survey. The MTF survey further revealed that youth reported frequent use of e-cigarettes (
1 in 10 eighth grader, 1 in 5 tenth grader and 1 in 4 twelfth grader
), and more exclusive users reported the use of flavored e-cigarettes. These results correspond with studies that show that youth have a low perceived risk of the dangers associated with e-cigarette use.
E-cigarettes are marketed as being safer than traditional cigarettes, but it is important to note that safer does not make it safe. While there are lower levels of toxic compounds in e-cigarettes than in traditional cigarettes, these levels are not zero and they can have significant adverse health risks with frequent use.
While research is still being done to understand all the health risks associated with vaping, the lungs have been identified as one of the primary organs affected. E-cigarettes are efficient in delivering substances that are easily and quickly absorbed by the lungs, and as result frequent users are developing an irreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease known as EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury). The CDC and other public health agencies have linked vitamin E acetate, used as a thickening agent in vape cartridges, to be the primary cause of this lung disease.
As of February 4, 2020, the CDC reported a total of
hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths in all 50 states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with
deaths confirmed in 28 states and the District of Colombia.
The growing health risks associated with vaping is a current public health concern, so it is important to know the risks associated with use to reduce negative health outcomes. For additional information about e-cigarettes and the associated health risks, please