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E-Cigarettes and Vaping

E-cigarettes, vapes, vape or hookah pens, vaporizers, e-pipes, vape watches, and other electronic nicotine delivery products are electronic, battery-powered devices that heat a liquid and allow users to inhale the aerosolized liquid, also known as e-liquid or e-juice. These devices come in many shapes and sizes. Some look like a regular cigarette, but many resemble everyday products like pens, USB drives, highlighting markers, or colorful toy-like items. E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, and pregnant women, and can be dangerous for adults who use tobacco products. 

If you have never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, do not start. Effective July 1, 2019, people must be at least 21 years old to buy tobacco products in Illinois, including e-cigarettes. 

Currently, e-cigarettes are not mentioned in the Illinois Smoke-free Illinois Act, which prohibits smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, but some local ordinances do include e-cigarettes. E-cigarette aerosol is not harmless; it can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals. While e-cigarettes typically have fewer chemicals than regular cigarettes, researchers found e-cigarettes present their own unique health risks and can increase the odds of chronic cough, phlegm, bronchitis, and asthma. Some cigarette smokers have replaced traditional smoking with electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or vaping, thinking it is not as dangerous.

Middle and high school students are the largest users of these smoking replacements. Recent youth tobacco surveys found e-cigarette use had surpassed conventional cigarettes as the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. These surveys also revealed that many young people consider vaping to be safe and are not aware that e-cigarettes contain nicotine. It is easy for middle school and high school students to conceal their use of vaping devices because of their appearance as everyday objects. The availability of “vape wear,” such as backpacks and hoodies, also allow the user to vape while concealing the product. 

What is the difference between e-cigarettes and vaping?

E-cigarettes refers to the device and vaping is the use of the device.

What do e-cigarettes look like?

Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.
E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes and can 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.

What are some common names used for e-cigarettes?

They are sometimes called e-cigs, e-hookahs, mods, vape pens, vapes, tank systems, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

How do e-cigarettes work?

E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals that make the aerosols.
The liquid is sometimes called e-juice, e-liquid, vape juice, or vape liquid.
Users inhale e-cigarette aerosol into their lungs.
Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales it into the air.
E-cigarette devices can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs. 

What can parents and adults do to help protect youth and young adults?

Set a good example by not using tobacco products. There are many ways to quit, investigate them, and find one that would work for you.
Establish and enforce tobacco-free zones (home, car, etc.).
Talk regularly about the about the dangers of smoking and e-cigarettes.
Refer to the resources below and share solid, proven, science-backed information on the risks of using e-cigarettes and tobacco products.
Choose your words carefully as most e-cigarette users do not consider themselves to be “smokers.” 

What is the bottom line on the risks of e-cigarettes for kids, teens, and young adults?

The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.
E-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances, including cancer-causing chemicals; chemicals linked to serious lung disease; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.
Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke traditional cigarettes in the future.
Vaping is harmful to the mouth and lungs.
Vaping can cause negative outcomes during and after pregnancy.
Vaping can cause asthma in those who are exposed over time.