Updated: Sep 19
You may be familiar with e-cigarettes, “vapes”, or “vape pens”,
which have gained popularity in recent years as they claim to be the healthier alternative to smoking cigarettes. Some are even made to look like regular cigarettes to provide the experience of smoking cigarettes. But is vaping truly a healthier alternative? According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), e-cigarettes often mislead customers by containing nicotine (the addictive chemical) but marketing themselves as zero percent nicotine. In this article, we will talk about the facts you need to know about vaping and why quitting is the best option for your health.
While it is true that e-cigarettes produce fewer cancer-causing particles than regular tobacco products, they still contain compounds that produce alarming results: local health departments and public health agencies all over the country are currently investigating a national outbreak of lung injury, known as EVALI, that is believed to be caused by vaping. Doctors consistently warn us that e-cigarettes contain not only nicotine, but also heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead, a chemical called diacetyl that causes serious lung injury, as well as many other cancer-causing chemicals.
CDC reported that “As of February 18, 2020, a total of 2,807 hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths have been reported…sixty-eight deaths have been confirmed in 29 states and the District of Columbia.” Yet, in 2020, 3.6 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.
The highly addictive nicotine in
e-cigarettes is especially harmful to teenagers, young adults, and pregnant women because nicotine disrupts brain development. It is toxic to developing fetuses. In young adults, brain development continues until about age 25. Additionally, CDC has received reports of defective e-cigarette batteries causing fires and explosions as well as toxic poisoning in children and adults from accidentally absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin.
What can you do to quit smoking?
Quitting is easier said than done, but it is the recommended option to become healthy. E-cigarettes are NOT an approved quit smoking aid, according to the FDA. When you are ready, know that no single quitting method is right for everyone. Your quitting plan should be personalized to your needs and the resources that are available to you. Before you quit, know your reasons for quitting and set small and attainable goals. Maybe you want to breathe easier. Maybe you want your teeth to look healthier. Your reasons can be as little as wanting your clothes to smell better! Remind yourself of your reasons every day. This will keep you motivated. Check out these inspiring stories of people who decided to quit and get free, online support from trained counselors about quitting:
CDC states that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and prescription medications can also drastically improve your chances of success in your quitting journey. NRT allows you to slowly diminish nicotine addiction by giving you a small dose of nicotine without the other dangerous chemicals found in smoking products. It helps reduce withdrawal feelings and cravings, which will improve your quitting journey. NRT can be found in the form of over-the-counter patches, gum, and lozenges, and can also be obtained in a prescription form from a doctor.
Goal setting and using NRT help, but are small aspects of a “quit plan”. Check out these full guides that offer countless resources and free services to developing a quit plan:
Adult Smoking Cessation-The Use of E-Cigarettes. (2020, January 23).
Retrieved April 7, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/202 0-
Guide for Quitting Smoking. (2020, June 08). Retrieved April 8, 2021, from
Know Your Reasons for Quitting. (2021, February 12). Retrieved April 8, 2021, from
Learn About Nicotine Replacement Therapy. (2021, March 04). Retrieved April 8, 2021, from
Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products. (2020,
November 27). Retrieved April 7, 2021, from