The Dangers of Vaping


The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health warns residents about the use of vaping and e-cigarette devices as potentially harmful to proper lung function and urges residents to STOP VAPING NOW. Find the latest information on The Dangers of Vaping in Los Angeles County. For the most current information nationally, visit The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat up a liquid that contain nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. The device consists of a mouthpiece, battery, a coil and a reservoir for the e-liquid/e-juice. The battery heats the coil, which in turn heats e-liquid//e-juice. The liquid may contain the following ingredients:

  • Propylene glycol (liquid to suspend the flavorings, nicotine, and other additives)
  • Vegetable glycerins (liquid to suspend the flavorings, nicotine, and other additives)
  • Flavorings
  • Menthol
  • Nicotine
  • Additives to enhance nicotine absorption

The vapor produced is an aerosol that contains chemicals or byproducts of all the e-liquid/e-juice ingredients.    These chemicals could be harmful to your health.

Some common names for vaping devices:

  • E-cigs (digital cigarette, stick style)
  • E-cigar
  • Cig-a-like (e-cig that looks like cigarette)
  • E-hookahs
  • Vapes
  • Vape pens
  • E-Go (larger than standard vape pen)
  • Advance Personal Vaporizers (APVs) or mods (customizable, more powerful vaporizers)
  • Cartomizer (atomizer and cartridge in one)

Teens & Vaping
Vaping is popular among young people. Vaping devices are easily available; vaping device designs are attractive and easily disguisable. E-liquids are flavored and taste good. There is the belief that vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes. However, nicotine can permanently harm teens’ brains, which continue to develop until age 25.

What are the effects of vaping on the brain?
The nicotine in vaping devices is highly addictive. For teens, nicotine exposure can cause addiction and permanently harm the brain. Because the teen brain is still developing, nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause mood disorders and negatively affect attention, learning, memory, and impulse control. Our brains continue to develop until about age 25.

Nicotine stimulates endorphin, dopamine, and adrenaline release making you feel happy, energetic, and relaxed. However, that same trigger can make you want to use more and that can lead to nicotine addiction.

In fact, the nicotine in tobacco is so highly addictive that many people struggle to quit when they want to stop. After a while, tobacco products no longer help to deal with stressors or problems but feed an addiction.  The nicotine in tobacco products increase cravings for tobacco.

Can you have nicotine withdrawal symptoms from e-cigarette use?
Yes. Physical withdrawal from nicotine can make quitting e-cigarettes challenging. The physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are uncomfortable but not life-threatening.

Nicotine withdrawal is the strongest in the first week of quitting and can last 2-4 weeks. Nicotine is completely out of your body in about 3 days. Common symptoms of withdrawal are:

  • Dizziness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Hunger
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Coughing
  • Lethargic
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability

Most nicotine cravings only last 3- to 5-minutes.

What are the health effects of e-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes expose the lungs to a variety of chemicals from the e-liquid, additives and chemicals produced during heating. A study of some e-cigarette products demonstrate that the aerosol produced by e-cigarettes contain known carcinogens, toxic chemicals, and toxic metal nanoparticles from the device itself. There are no FDA regulations in the manufacturing of electronic cigarettes and e-liquids. More research is required to determine the health consequences of repeated exposure to chemicals produced by e-cigarettes.

Can e-cigarettes help a person quit smoking?
E-cigarettes are not FDA approved as a quit aid. More research is needed regarding the effectiveness of vaping devices as a quit smoking aid.

Is there help available to quit vaping?
Yes, the California Smokers’ Helpline offers free services to quit vaping:

How do I start the conversation on vaping?

  • Know the facts.
  • Be patient and ready to listen.
  • Set a positive example by being tobacco-free.
  • Find the right moment.
  • Ask for support.
  • Connect and encourage.
  • Remind and repeat.
  • Share facts and resources.

Find more ways to start the conversation
Parent Tip Sheet
Hoja con consejos para los padres



Quit Vaping – Mobile App

Quit Vaping – California Smokers’ Helpline

Tobacco Free California

Surgeon General’s Advisory

Still Blowing Smoke

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention