Clear the Air: The Truth About E-Cigarettes, Vaping and Smoking

Clear the Air: The Truth About E-Cigarettes, Vaping and Smoking

Many people, mostly teens and young adults, think e-cigs are cool or a healthier choice than smoking cigarettes. Whether they look like cigarettes, pipes, pens or lipstick holders, they all use a vapor to deliver nicotine without tobacco. This vapor sparked the use of “vape” and “vaping” instead of smoking.

Is Vaping Safer?

Some say e-cigs are safer than regular cigarettes. Health experts don’t agree. Most vape devices hold nicotine. Nicotine is addictive and one vaping dose can have as much nicotine as 20 regular cigarettes.

E-cig vapor has harmful chemicals and metals. It’s been linked to lung injuries. Research shows exposure to secondhand vapor can be dangerous for others.

Can Vaping Help You Quit Smoking? 

Smokers who want to quit may think vaping can help them give up cigarettes. In reality, vaping makes it harder. Studies show vaping is just as addictive as smoking cigarettes. Plus, vape tools are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration leaving site icon as a quit aids.

If you’re trying to quit smoking, ask your doctor about nicotine replacement products and other proven tools that can. For more tips, visit leaving site icon

Are They making a New Generation of Smokers?

Many children and teens who weren’t smokers have started vaping. This may raise their risk of smoking tobacco later on in life.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leaving site icon report more than two million high school and middle school students used e-cigarettes in 2021. They are now more popular among teens than traditional cigarettes.

The figures are concerning since nearly all e-cigs have nicotine — even those that say they don’t. Along with being addictive, nicotine harms health — including brain growth in adolescents.

Be Careful

The vaping trade is unregulated. E-cigarette makers don’t have to follow the strict standards set for cigarette firms. Anti-smoking advocates are also worried about products aimed at young people, like fruity vape flavors.

It’s hard to know exactly how much nicotine and other chemicals are in e-cigs. It’s safest not to put them into clear air — or healthy lungs.

Sources:  Facts about E-Cigarettes, leaving site icon Food and Drug Administration, 2023;  5 Vaping Facts You Need to Know, leaving site icon Johns Hopkins Medicine; E-Cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students – National Youth Tobacco Study, United Statesleaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021; New Study Shows Kid-Friendly Flavors Drove Big Increase in E-Cigarette Sales Since 2020 – To Protect Kids, FDA Must Eliminate All Flavored E-Cigarettes, leaving site icon Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, 2023.

Originally published 11/17/2015; Revised 2019, 2022, 2023