In electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), the active substance is liquid nicotine; no other tobacco products are present. Electronic cigarettes and vaporizers were initially marketed as a device to help people quit smoking tobacco, but e-cigarette users remain addicted to nicotine. E-cigarettes have not received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval as smoking cessation devices.
Some people use the vaporizers to inhale active ingredients other than nicotine, including the active ingredients of marijuana Marijuana Marijuana (cannabis) is a drug made from the plants Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica that contain a psychoactive chemical called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Marijuana... read more , hashish oils Marijuana , synthetic marijuana Marijuana, Synthetic Cannabis is a term for marijuana. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the main active ingredient in marijuana. Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made drugs that are similar to THC. They are usually sprayed... read more (THC for all three), and amphetamines Amphetamines Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that are used to treat certain medical conditions but are also subject to abuse. Amphetamines increase alertness, enhance physical performance, and produce euphoria... read more .
In addition to water and the active ingredient, commercially produced vaping liquids usually contain propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid along with flavoring and other chemicals, including trace amounts of metals. Illicitly produced vaping agents likely contain additional inactive ingredients, some of which, such as vitamin E acetate, may be involved in vaping-related lung injury.
Complications of Vaping
Potential complications of vaping include
Use of nicotine by nonsmokers, leading to nicotine addiction
Severe lung injury
One concern is that nonsmokers, particularly adolescents, who inhale nicotine, become addicted.
Certain substances in the vapor appear to lead to severe lung injury and sometimes death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the FDA, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a national outbreak of vaping-related lung injury. (See CDC: Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products.)
THC-containing vaping products and those with vitamin E acetate are linked to cases of severe lung injury related to vaping. The CDC and FDA recommend that people not use THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, particularly from informal sources like friends, family, or in-person or online dealers. Vitamin E acetate should not be added to any e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
The following English-language resources may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of these resources.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with the Use of E-Cigarette, or Vaping, Products: Resources for healthcare providers and health departments gleaned from monitoring e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI).
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): Vaping-specific information from the federal agency that supports scientific research into the drug's use and its consequences.