What Are E-cigarettes?
- E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol, or mix of small particles in the air.
- E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid.
- Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items. Larger devices such as tank systems, or “mods,” do not look like other tobacco products.
- 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).”
- Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called “vaping” or “JUULing.”
Why Is Nicotine Unsafe for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults?
- Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products.
- A recent CDC study found that 99% of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the United States contained nicotine.
- Some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, and some e-cigarettes marketed as containing 0% nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.
- Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain.1 The brain keeps developing until about age 25.
- Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.1
- Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.
- Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.1
What Is JUUL?
- JUUL is a brand of e-cigarette that is shaped like a USB flash drive. Like other e-cigarettes, JUUL is a battery-powered device that heats a nicotine-containing liquid to produce an aerosol that is inhaled.
- All JUUL e-cigarettes have a high level of nicotine. According to the manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.2
- JUUL is one of a few e-cigarettes that use nicotine salts, which allow particularly high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation than the free-base nicotine that has traditionally been used in tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
- News outlets and social media sites report widespread use of JUUL by students in schools, including classrooms and bathrooms.
- Approximately two-thirds of JUUL users aged 15 – 24 do not know that JUUL always contains nicotine.
Aren’t E-cigarettes Safer Than Cigarettes?
- E-cigarettes expose users to fewer harmful chemicals than burned cigarettes.1 But burned cigarettes are extraordinarily dangerous, killing half of all people who smoke long-term.
- The use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for young people.