What Are E-Cigarettes?
- E-Cigarettes are known by a few names, from E-cigs, vapes, pens, hookah, and more variations.
- E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid.
- E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.
- E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).”
- Some e-cigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some resemble pens, USB sticks, and other everyday items. Larger devices such as tank systems, or “mods,” do not resemble other tobacco products.
- Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called “vaping.”
- E-cigarettes can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.
What’s Even IN Vapes and E-Cigarettes?
The e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:
- Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
- Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
- Volatile organic compounds
- Cancer-causing chemicals
- Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead
It is difficult for consumers to know what e-cigarette products contain. For example, some e-cigarettes marketed as containing zero percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.
Who is Using E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth.
- In 2021, 2.06 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 2.8% (320,000) of middle school students and 11.3% (1.72 million) of high school students.
- In 2020, 3.7% of U.S. adults currently used e-cigarettes.
- In 2019, among current adult e-cigarette users overall, 36.9% also currently smoked cigarettes, 39.5% formerly smoked cigarettes, and 23.6% had never smoked cigarettes.
- Among current adult e-cigarette users, the percentage who have never smoked cigarettes is highest among those aged 18–24 years (56.0%), and is lower in older age groups.