E-cigarettes are electronic devices that use a battery-powered mechanism that heats liquid to form vapors that the user can inhale, i.e., “vaping.” These liquids are not just water – they contain various flavorings, nicotine, cannabis or marijuana, or other potentially harmful substances and chemicals. E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes and are known by different names, including e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, mods, and tank systems.
According to a July 2019 Gallup poll, 8% of Americans say they’ve vaped within the past week and 19% of young adults ages 18 to 24 in the United States use e-cigarettes. Many people use vaping as a way to quit smoking, but E-cigarettes are not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an aid or treatment to quit smoking.
Reports of sudden, severe lung illness and deaths associated with e-cigarettes have been reported across the majority of U.S. states. This may be caused by an aerosol emitted by e-cigarettes that contains harmful substances like nicotine, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and flavorings linked to lung disease. Flavorings are especially popular with younger vapers. A 2020 federal policy prohibited most flavors in one type of e-cigarette – cartridge- or pod-based products like Juul. But the policy contained gaping loopholes that allowed e-cigarette makers to continue luring and addicting kids with other flavored products. Today, flavored e-cigarettes remain widely available, including cheap, disposable E-cigarettes in flavors such as strawberry, grape and mango.
But there’s encouraging news. Young adults who participated in a text message-based campaign to quit vaping were up to 40% more likely to drop the habit than those who were not part of the program, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. The data showed nearly one in four e-cigarette users ages 18 to 24 who received text messages as part of the “This Is Quitting” program was no longer vaping seven months later. More than 80% of those who did not participate in the vaping cessation initiative still were using the devices.
If you’d like to try to quit vaping, text ‘DITCHVAPE’ to 88709.