E-cigarettes and Vaping: Resources for Health Professionals
E-cigarette aerosol contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals.
Nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm the developing adolescent brain. Because the brain is still developing until about age 25, youth and young adult exposure to nicotine can lead to addiction and disrupt attention and learning. No amount of nicotine is safe for youth.
Similar to secondhand smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products, aerosol from e-cigarettes (often called vapor) contains harmful and potentially harmful constituents, such as ultrafine particles, heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead, and other cancer-causing chemicals.
Exposure may increase risk of breathing problems.
Exposure to e-cigarette aerosol may be a trigger for both kids and adults with breathing problems, such as asthma, increasing their risk of severe asthma attacks. In Minnesota, kids with asthma who are exposed to e-cigarette aerosol are more likely to report symptoms than those not exposed, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Vaping-Associated Lung Injuries
The Minnesota Department of Health is working with local public health and health care providers to investigate reports of severe lung injury potentially related to vaping and e-cigarette use among teens and adults. With similar reports coming from other states in recent weeks, MDH is partnering with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine a cause and what steps may be taken to prevent additional illness. To date more than 500 cases have been reported from multiple states. Many of the patients report having vaped illicit THC (a component of cannabis). Health care providers should report similar cases.
Learn more about Vaping-Associated Lung Injuries.
E-cigarettes are not proven to help people quit smoking.
E-cigarettes are not FDA-approved smoking quitting aids, and they are not proved to help people quit. Free quitting medications and counseling are available to all Minnesotans by visiting Quit Partner or by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669).
Learn more about Helping People Quit Commercial Tobacco.
Health care professionals have a role in preventing youth e-cigarette use.
Talk to your young patients about the risks of commercial tobacco use and provide education about the harms to their respiratory health and risk for addiction. Screen all patients, including parents, for use of any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vapes, encourage them to quit, and refer patients to services for help quitting.
- E-cigarettes and Youth: What Health Care Providers Need to Know (PDF) (CDC)
- E-cigarettes and Vaping: Data and Statistics
- Health Advisory: Nicotine and the Escalating Risk of Addiction for Youth (PDF)
- Health Care Provider Conversation Card (PDF) (CDC)
- Health Risks of Nicotine for Youth
- Helping People Quit Commercial Tobacco
- Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes
- The Impact of E-cigarettes on the Lung (PDF) (American Lung Association)