Learning About Vaping

Assorted vaping devices

What is it?

Vaping is using a battery-powered device to inhale liquid nicotine or other substances. The devices can look like everyday items such as pens, cigarettes, or USB flash drives.

Instead of tobacco, they use a blend of liquid nicotine, flavors, and other chemicals. This is called vaping liquid. It comes in different nicotine strengths. THC (a chemical in marijuana) products can also be used.

Vapes are also called:

  • E-cigarettes.
  • Vape pens.
  • Juuls.

How do vapes work?

Vapes make an aerosol cloud by heating vaping liquid or THC. You breathe in through the mouthpiece. This turns on the battery, which powers the heating element. This turns vaping liquid or THC into tiny particles suspended in gas, called an aerosol.

What are the safety concerns?

More research is needed before experts can tell if vaping is safe. The long-term health effects aren't known. Here's what experts are learning about vaping.

It's not harmless water vapor.
The "vapor" made by vaping isn't a vapor at all. It's an aerosol cloud made of chemicals suspended in a gas. This vape aerosol contains chemicals known to be harmful.
It likely has nicotine.
Nicotine is addictive. It's harmful to developing brains, such as in unborn babies, children, and young adults up to age 25. Liquid nicotine can be lethal if swallowed. Keep it out of children's reach.
It may cause a deadly lung disease.
There have been outbreaks of lung disease and death related to vaping. Some sources call it vaping-related lung injury. Many of these may be from vaping products with THC. But the exact cause isn't known.

How well does it work to help people stop smoking?

More research is needed to know how well vaping works to help people stop smoking. Some people try to quit smoking by reducing the amount of nicotine they vape. They do this slowly over time. If you're thinking of using vaping to help you stop smoking, talk to your doctor first. Here are some other things to think about.

It's not approved as a quit-smoking aid.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don't recommend vaping to help quit smoking. Nicotine replacement patches or gums are preferred.
Many people end up using both.
This is called dual use. Some people choose to vape when they can't smoke. But they still smoke cigarettes.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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