What You Need to Know About Vaping

Girl holding a vape pen

Considering vaping instead of smoking?

Check out the truth about e-cigarettes before you pick one up.

What is vaping?

Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called vaping, from the word vapor. E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that heat liquid to release an aerosol (vapor) inhaled by the user. The liquid can contain propylene glycol, nicotine, flavorings and other substances. E-cigarette makers and supporters claim they provide a healthier alternative to smoking. Many users think they are an acceptable way to use nicotine where smoking isn’t allowed.

What are the risks?

While e-cigarette vapor may have fewer toxic substances than cigarette smoke, e-cigarette users are still exposed to nicotine, which is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical, as well as toxins, metals and contaminants. Non-users around them also may be exposed to these harmful chemicals through the exhaled vapor. And the liquid can be toxic if eaten or absorbed through the skin – a poisoning risk to young children in users’ households.

Smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year. It’s one of the most preventable causes of death and disease. Adults and kids are smoking cigarettes less but using e-cigarettes and other tobacco products more. Vaping may help re-normalize tobacco use and get kids started, even leading them to regular cigarettes over time. E-cigarettes are the most common tobacco product used by adolescents. In 2023, over 2.1 million students used e-cigarettes. Use among high school students declined from 14.1% to 10.0%. from 2022 to 2023. But use among middle-school students increased from 3.3% to 4.6%. 

Can it really help me stop smoking?

E-cigarettes are sometimes marketed as a way to quit smoking, but there is not enough scientific evidence that it works. One study reported adult smokers who used e-cigarettes were 28% less likely to quit successfully. The American Heart Association recommends using proven methods to quit smoking. The Association continues to advocate for strong regulation of e-cigarettes, such as including them in smoke-free policies, and restricting flavorings and marketing to kids.

What’s the bottom line?

If you don’t currently use tobacco, don’t try vaping because you think it’s “cool” or “safe.” There is no such thing as a risk-free tobacco product. For true health, tobacco-free is the way to be!