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).


Información en español

Page last updated on January 6, 2022.

What are e-cigarettes

Vapes are electronic devices that heat up a liquid that contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. The device consists of a mouthpiece, battery, a coil, and a reservoir for the e-liquid (also called e-juice). The battery heats the coil, which in turn heats e-liquid. The liquid may contain:

  • Propylene glycol (to suspend the flavorings, nicotine, and other additives)
  • Vegetable glycerins (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 ingredients.  These chemicals could be harmful to your health.

Vapes are also called:

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

Teens & Vaping
Vaping is popular among young people. Vapes are widely available; They are attractively designed and easy to disguise. E-liquids are flavored to taste good. Many people think vaping is safer than smoking. However, whether nicotine is smoked or vaped, nicotine can permanently harm teens’ brains, which continue to develop until age 25.

What are the effects of vaping on the brain?
Nicotine is highly addictive. Because the teen brain is still developing, addiction to nicotine can permanently harm teens’ brains. 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 causes the body to release endorphin, dopamine, and adrenaline, making you feel happy, energetic, and relaxed. That 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 with stress or problems. Instead, they only feed an addiction. The nicotine in tobacco products increases cravings for tobacco.

Can you have nicotine withdrawal symptoms from vaping?
Yes. Physical withdrawal from nicotine can make it challenging to quit vaping. The physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are uncomfortable but not life-threatening.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are strongest in your 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
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Hunger
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability

Most nicotine cravings only last 3 to 5 minutes.

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How does vaping affect your health?
Vaping exposes the lungs to a variety of chemicals from the e-liquid, additives and chemicals produced during heating. A study of some e-cigarette products demonstrates that the aerosol that vapes produce contains known carcinogens, toxic chemicals, and toxic metal nanoparticles from the vape itself. The FDA does not regulate the makers of vapes or e-liquids. More research is required to determine the health effects of repeated exposure to chemicals vapes produce.

Can vapes help you quit smoking?
Vapes are not FDA approved as quit aids. More research is needed to determine whether vaping devices are effective quit-smoking aids.

Is there help available to quit vaping?
Yes, Kick It California (formerly known as 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

Still Blowing Smoke

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Kick It California 1-800-300-8086

Get free, personalized help from a Quit Coach via phone call, text message, or live chat. Previously known as the CA Smokers’ Helpline or 1-800-NO-BUTTS, Kick It California can connect you to local programs and offers the free No Butts + No Vapes mobile apps.

Kick It California – QUIT-VAPING

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