Posts Tagged ‘vaping’

woman holding blue vape pen
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Most people are aware of the dangers and health risks associated with smoking.  Over the last several years this has caused the consumption rate to experience a steady down turn.  The tobacco industry has rallied back by creating and introducing a sleeker, sexier, new product known as e-cigarettes.  E-cigarettes have grown to be the most commonly used tobacco product among U.S. middle and high school students.  The U.S. Surgeon General reported in 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. youth, including 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students, currently use e-cigarettes.  Adults are not immune to this trend, a whopping 10.8 million adults use e-cigarettes in the U.S.  Even more shocking, one study published by the American College of Physicians reported 15% of e-cigarette users had never smoked cigarettes before.

Trying to make sense of what has been referred to by the U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome M. Adams, as an “e-cigarettes epidemic” can be quite confusing and overwhelming.  The National Institute of Drug Abuse defines an electronic cigarette as an e-cigarette, e-vaporizer, or electronic nicotine delivery system which are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol.  They typically contain nicotine, flavorings, and other harmful chemicals.  There are over 450 different e-cigarette brands on the market but some common nicknames for them include: e-cigs, e-hookahs, hookah pens, vapes, vape pens, and mods.

You might be asking yourself, “What is the appeal of e-cigarettes”? People cite several different reasons for using e-cigarettes but some of the most popular include: 

  1. The taste – there are over 15,000 different e-liquid flavors containing nicotine and other chemicals such as:  propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, etc.
  2. Curiosity – currently there are no restrictions on e-cigarette marketing like there is on tobacco products
  3. Accessibility – e-cigarettes can easily be purchased on the internet by minors
  4. Friends and/or family use them – most youth report receiving their device from friend/family with a positive message of no harmful risks associated
  5. The belief that they are less harmful than other forms of tobacco – e-cigarettes are highly addictive, contain harmful cancer-causing chemicals, and damage the brain and lungs

Most health organizations and officials agree it is still too early to know the potential long-term impacts of e-cigarettes.  According to the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, there is evolving evidence supporting negative impacts including irreversible lung damage, lung disease, addiction, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.  While only time will reveal the overall negative health consequences, the CDC suggest practicing the following prevention strategies:  be tobacco-free, talk to your kids, friends, and family about why e-cigarettes are harmful for them, and let your children know you want them to stay away from all tobacco products because they are not safe. 

Author: Lorrissa Dunfee, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Belmont County

Reviewer: Alisha Barton, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Miami County


“The 3 Main Reasons Youth Use e-Cigarettes.” Truth Initiative, 2018, truthinitiative.org/research-resources/emerging-tobacco-products/3-main-reasons-youth-use-e-cigarettes.

Mirbolouk, Mohammadhassan, et al. “Prevalence and Distribution of E-Cigarette Use Among U.S. Adults: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2016.” Annals of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians, 2 Oct. 2018, annals.org/aim/article-abstract/2698112/prevalence-distribution-e-cigarette-use-among-u-s-adults-behavioral.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes).” NIDA, 2018, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes.

Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-Cigarette Use Among Youth. e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/surgeon-generals-advisory-on-e-cigarette-use-among-youth-2018.pdf.

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picture of gummy candy

How much do you know about E-cigarettes (e-cigs, juul, e-hookahs, vape pens, tank systems, etc.)?  If you are like me, it wasn’t much until I heard about a child at my son’s school being suspended for possessing one.  Suddenly, I took notice and I am glad I did.

E-cigs work by heating liquid nicotine and turning it into a vapor that can be inhaled or vaped.  Although originally marketed as an alternative for the established smoker, e-cigs have found their way into the hands of our teens.  Here’s why; the devices can be easily disguised as they can look like a pen, a computer memory stick, a key fob, or even an asthma inhaler and are sold in flavors attractive to teens like gummy bear, fruit punch, cotton candy, coffee and chocolate (Bach, 2018).  E-cigs often contain nicotine and although you must be 18 years of age to purchase them, according to the CDC, they are now the most commonly used form of tobacco by youth in the US since becoming available about 10 years ago.  E-cigs are also an affordable option for young adults and teens as they are rechargeable and refillable. The average cost for a 4 pack refill is only about $15.

With so many teens bringing e-cigs into their homes another growing concern is the possibility of younger siblings having access to these devices.  Although the government now requires liquid nicotine to be sold in childproof packaging, they still present a significant risk to young children if swallowed, absorbed into the mucous membranes or spilled on their skin.  A teaspoon of concentrated liquid nicotine can be fatal for the average 26 –pound toddler (Korioth, 2018).

Symptoms of liquid nicotine poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Jittery and unsteady appearance
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased saliva

According Gary Smith, MD, at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, parents and child caregivers can help children stay safer by following these tips:

  • Store e-cigarettes and refill products where children cannot see or reach them like you would other poisons.
  • Use and refill alone. Do not use e-cigarettes around children.
  • Refill, clean, and dispose of products safely. Clean spills up right away.
  • Adults in households with children younger than 6 years old should be counseled on vaping cessation. Do not use e-cigarettes or related products in the home.
  • Save the national Poison Help Line number (1-800-222-1222) in your cellphone and post it near your home phones.

Poison Control Number 1-800-222-1222











Bach, Laura (2018, December). Electronic Cigarettes and Youth. https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0382.pdf

Smith, Gary (2018, April). Liquid Nicotine Used in e-Cigarettes Still a Danger to Children Despite Recent Decline in Exposures. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/research/areas-of-research/center-for-injury-research-and-policy/injury-topics/poison/e-cigarettes-and-liquid-nicotine

Korioth, Trisha (2018, December). Liquid Nicotine Used in E-Cigarettes Can Kill Children. www.HealthyChildren.org

CDC, (2017, January). https://www.cdc.gov/features/ecigarettes-young-people/index.html

Cooper, Heather (2017, March). Liquid Nicotine and Kids Don’t Mix. https://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/liquid-nicotine-and-kids-dont-mix/

Written by: Heather Reister, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, reister.6@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

soda pop flavor e-cig

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