Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year—about 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths1—and an additional 16 million people suffer with a serious illness caused by smoking. In fact, for every one person who dies from smoking, about 30 more suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness (NIDA).
Exposure to secondhand smoke also causes serious diseases and death. Each year, an estimated 88 million nonsmoking Americans are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke and almost 41,000 nonsmokers die from diseases caused by secondhand smoke exposure (NIDA).
Cigarettes and other forms of tobacco—including cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, and chewing tobacco—contain the addictive drug nicotine. Nicotine is readily absorbed into the bloodstream when a tobacco product is chewed, inhaled, or smoked. A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a cigarette over the period of about 5 minutes that the cigarette is lit. Thus, a person who smokes about 1 pack (25 cigarettes) daily gets 250 “hits” of nicotine each day (NIDA).
Vaping is the act of inhaling a water vapor through a vaporizer, sometimes called a vape pen or electronic cigarette (e-cigarette). These are battery-powered devices that are usually shaped like a pen or tobacco cigarette. A cartridge inside holds a liquid, usually containing nicotine or hash oil, along with other chemicals like artificial flavors. A heating element warms up the liquid until it becomes a aerosol vapor, and users inhale the vapor and exhale a puff of fog or steam that looks like smoke but isn’t (Reach Out).
Vaping has also become an increasingly popular way to ingest THC, the active compound in marijuana or pot. Marijuana is dissolved in butane and other chemicals in order to create hash oil, which can be heated in vape pens (Reach Out).
A common misconception about vaping is that it is safe, because you are not inhaling smoke. While the absence of smoke does make vaping less dangerous than smoking marijuana or traditional tobacco cigarettes, vaping is not considered safe or risk-free by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (Reach Out).
Surprisingly enough, there is no requirement to publicize the ingredients of e-liquids, (aka juice). So, who knows what’s in that little bottle of chocolate flavored liquid? According to some studies, diethylene glycol, a chemical toxic to humans often found in anti-freeze can be commonly found in juice cartridges. Yet, this is just one of several toxic chemicals that has been found within e-liquids. Some smoke shops will make their own house blends and tout all sorts of purity claims, however no one is testing those house blends (Teen Therapy Center).