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Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

Health & Counseling Center

Health Promotion

Vaping & E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes and vaping has become an increased concern in U.S. public health. There have been several hundred cases of severe lung disease in 33 states linked to e-cigarette use.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although e-cigarettes contain fewer harmful chemicals than burned cigarettes, the use of any tobacco product including e-cigarettes is unsafe for young people. Whether you choose to vape/use e-cigarettes or not, it's important to know what current research is saying about e-cigarette use and its impacts, as well as what resources exist to help you or someone you know to quit.

Most DU students do not vape - 70% of students did not use e-cigarettes within the last 30 days (National College Health Assessment, Spring 2019). 

What are E-Cigarettes?
  • E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol, or mix of small particles in the air.
  • E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid.
  • Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some 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.
  • E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called "e-cigs," "e-hookahs," "mods," "vape pens," "vapes," "tank systems," and "electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)."
  • Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called "vaping" or "JUULing."
    • "JUUL" is a brand of e-cigarette that is shaped like a USB drive and heats nicotine-containing liquid to produce an aerosol that is inhaled. It is one of the few e-cigarettes that contains nicotine salts that allow high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily with less irritation compared to other tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.
    • 1 single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
  • For more information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
How do E-Cigarettes Work?
  • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. This is NOT harmless "water vapor".
  • The liquid used in e-cigarettes often contains nicotine and flavorings. This 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.
  • For more information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What Impact do E-Cigarettes have on Health?
  • Many people report using e-cigarettes because they believe these products to be less harmful than conventional cigarettes. Although e-cigarettes contain fewer harmful chemicals than burned cigarettes, the use of any tobacco product including e-cigarettes is unsafe for young people.
  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm brain and lung development in young people, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine even when they do. Using any nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
  • E-cigarettes contain harmful ingredients, such as volatile organic compounds, cancer-causing chemicals, heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead, and ultrafine particles.
  • The flavoring in e-cigarettes such as diacetyl is a chemical linked to a serious lung disease.
  • Recent concerns regarding lung injury/illness are associated with e-cigarette use. There have been several hundred cases of severe lung disease in 33 states linked to e-cigarette use. In Colorado, there have been 9 confirmed cases of vaping-related illness as of October 2019 (tobaccofreeco.org).
  • For more information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act (2019)
  • Colorado is committed to creating smoke-free communities and protecting people from exposure to secondhand smoke. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, passed by the state legislature in 2006, was a big step forward for smoke-free and healthy communities.
  • In 2019, Colorado updated the law to address vaping, which, whether inside or outside, can impact people nearby. In addition to prohibiting vaping in most public indoor settings, the updated law removed exemptions for hotels and small businesses. It also increased the distance from building entrances where people can smoke or vape from 15 feet to 25 feet. But the law still doesn't completely protect Coloradans - it exempts smoking in outdoor places where people gather, like some restaurant patios, sidewalks, concert venues and parks and trails.
  • For more information, please visit www.tobaccofreeco.org or www.breathefreecolorado.org
Resources for Quitting Tobacco and E-Cigarette Use
  • E-cigarettes and other vaping devices are not a proven method for quitting smoking because they still contain nicotine, and are used in addition to smoking cigarettes. (centeronaddiction.org)
  • If you or someone is trying to quit smoking/vaping and tobacco use, here are some free tools to help quit and to receive free coaching and support (Source: teen.smokefree.gov):
    • Colorado QuitLine service – 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
    • SmokefreeTXT – text QUIT to 47848
    • DipfreeTXT (for quitting smokeless tobacco use) – text SPIT to 333888
    • Practice Quit – text GO to 47848
    • Free quitSTART App
    • Livehelp.cancer.gov or 1-877-448-7848