Feb 28th, 2023

The increase in e-cigarette use by kids and young people in recent years is a serious public health threat. The public should know the bottom line—e-cigarettes are not a safe or healthy alternative to smoking.

What It Is

E-cigarettes are sometimes called “e-cigs,” or “vapes.” Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items.

E-cigarettes heat nicotine (extracted from tobacco), flavorings and other chemicals to create an aerosol that you inhale. Nicotine is the primary agent in both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and it is highly addictive and toxic to your lungs.

E-cigarettes are now the most common form of tobacco use by kids and teens. In 2018, use by high school students in the U.S. doubled from the previous year (heart.org).

Research from The Johns Hopkins University on vape ingredients published in October 2021 reveals that along with the nicotine, e-cigarettes contain thousands of chemical ingredients, most of which are NOT yet identified. Among those the team could identify were caffeine, a pesticide, and two flavorings linked with possible toxic effects and respiratory irritation.

Although they’ve been promoted as an aid to help you quit smoking, e-cigarettes are just as harmful as smoking and have not received Food and Drug Administration approval as smoking cessation devices.

How To Quit

While e-cigarette promoters claim the devices can help people quit smoking, remember that the science clearly indicates vaping is not a safe or healthy alternative to smoking. To learn more, check out Is Vaping Better Than Smoking from the American Heart Association.

Are you ready to quit tobacco? Thinking about quitting tobacco? Or, do you just want to know more? The Missouri Tobacco Quit Services can help tobacco users quit by offering counseling, practical information on how to quit, and referrals to other cessation resources. If eligible, it can provide FDA-approved cessation medications too.

Missouri Tobacco Quit Services is a free, confidential and effective resource for people who:

  • Want to quit all forms of tobacco, including e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
  • Are former smokers and want to try to avoid relapse
  • Want to help family members or friends quit tobacco

Click here to enroll in Missouri Tobacco Quit Services today.

Studies show that people who receive coaching through Quit Services more than double their chances of quitting and are more likely to stay quit. Combining counseling and quit-smoking medications, such as patches, triples success rates.

The American Heart Association also suggests these tips for success:

  • Deal with urges. Learn your triggers and make a plan to address them
  • Get active. Physical activity can help you manage the stress and cravings when quitting.
  • Handle stress. Be prepared with healthy ways to manage the stress of quitting.
  • Get support. A buddy or support system can help you overcome the common struggles of quitting.
  • Stick with it. Be prepared to reward and forgive yourself. If you fall back, get back on course as soon as possible—you can do it.

Use this How To Quit Tobacco Fact Sheet to learn more about a plan that will set you up for success.

Sources: American Heart Association (AHA), Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (MDHSS)