The E-Cigarette Epidemic

E-Cigarettes have become an epidemic in the U.S., more than 3.6 million middle and high school students said they vaped in the past 30 days and e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among high school student.


In New York state, e-cigarette use among youth has skyrocketed in past years, increasing by more than 160 percent. In 2018, more than 1 in 4 New York high school students said they had used an e-cigarette. E-cigarettes are battery-operated smoking products that turn their contents into a vapor that is inhaled – this action is also known as “vaping”.

E-cigarettes are also known as vape pens, e-cigs, mods, or by common brand names like Juul® and Suorin® . They can look like regular cigarettes, USB sticks, pens, or other everyday items. Some e-cigarettes don’t produce a vapor cloud, so they can easily be hidden.

E-cigarettes can contain:

  • High Levels of Nicotine
  • Cancer-Causing Chemicals
  • Heavy Metals, such as Nickel, Tin and Lead

Many parents and teachers are now familiar with e-cigarettes – but new models are finding their way into the hands of youth, which can be dangerous for their development and can increase the likelihood that they will use cigarettes. It is unsafe for young people to use any product containing tobacco or nicotine. Some e-cigarette cartridges have higher levels of nicotine than a pack of cigarettes. Nicotine harms the developing brain, causes addiction and affects memory and attention.

An epidemic in the U.S.:

  • More than 3.6 million middle and high school students said they vaped in the past 30 days
  • E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among high school students
  • Trends in e-cigarette use among high school students in N.Y. has gone up 160% since 2014
  • There has been an increase to 27.4% of use in 2018 compared to 10.5% in 2014 among high school students in N.Y.

E-cigarettes and their vapor are not harmless, especially to youth. They can cause addiction, harm the developing brain, and affect memory and attention. They can also irritate and damage the lungs and can lead to smoking cigarettes.

Research shows youth and young adults identify flavors as a primary reason for e-cigarette use. In addition to attractive flavors, e-cigarettes are targeted to youth through advertising on social media and television and are easy to purchase through peers and online.

E-cigarettes use among young people may:

  • Lead to chronic cough, bronchitis and wheezing
  • Increase heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increase the likelihood of smoking cigarettes

Scientists are still researching the potential long-term effects of e-cigarette use. E-cigarette use is not an FDA approved method for quitting smoking. People who smoke should use only FDA-approved methods including gum and patches. For help with quitting: Talk with your doctor or call the NY State Smokers’ Quitline at 1-866-NY-QUITS.