Types of Drugs


Nicotine is the stimulating chemical found in tobacco that makes it addictive. Liquid Nicotine is extracted from tobacco and combined with flavorings and other chemicals to create a liquid solution. This solution often comes in the form of a cartridge and is heated by an e-cigarette to create an aerosol that can be inhaled. The name “e-cigarette” is common, but many teenagers are more familiar with popular terms like vape, vape pen, mods, or bricks. E-cigarettes are illegal for use by people under the age of 18 or 21 (depending on the product and the state).

Among teens, e-cigarettes are more popular than any traditional tobacco product. In 2017, 11% of high school students had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. By 2018, that number had risen to 21% and, by 2019, 27.5% of high school students had used e-cigarettes in the past month. The current use rate among middle schoolers rose from 0.6% in 2011 to 10.5% in 2019. Several teens believe e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but this is not true. Because both products contain nicotine, e-cigarettes are just as addicting as traditional cigarettes. A 2016 national survey found that among youth and young adult e-cigarette users aged 13-25, more than half (55.9%) used another tobacco product in addition to e-cigarettes. The use of any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for young people.

What are the risks of using e-cigarettes?

  • Addiction 
  • Becoming a dual user (using tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes at the same time) 
  • Lung damage 
  • Pneumonia 
  • Cancer 
  • Withdrawal symptoms – including irritability, sleep disturbances, craving, increased appetite and attention deficits 
  • Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control 
  • Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs 
  • Pregnant women who use nicotine are at a greater risk for stillbirth and preterm delivery 
  • Scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes

(Sources: Truth Initiative, John Hopkins Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)