In less than a decade, the rise in the use of ENDS – or electronic nicotine delivery systems — coupled with a lack of knowledge about the effects of inhaling their vapor (known as “vaping”) has led to a major public health concern.
ENDS devices include e-cigarettes, personal vaporizers, vape pens, e-cigars, e-hookah, and other vaping devices that produce an aerosolized mixture containing flavored liquids and nicotine. They are relatively new products that continue to grow in number and popularity, especially among young users.
Since they first came onto the market, we’ve learned a lot about ENDS – namely, about the health risks associated with e-cigarettes and vaping, the lack of industry regulation, and perceptions among youth. Unfortunately, there’s still a lot we don’t know—and likely won’t know until the industry is fully regulated.
But one thing is clear: there’s enough evidence to know e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems cause harm, and we must work to prevent their use among young people.
We’ve compiled some of the lesser-known facts about ENDS from a variety of sources, and we’ve included several associated links so that you can learn more about any given fact.
Overall Use and Popularity
- E-cigarettes are the most popular tobacco products among youth.
- More than 1 in 10 kids report that they are currently using the devices.
- About a quarter of middle and high school students in Texas and more than a third of young adults have tried e-cigarettes at least once.
- Youth e-cigarette use increased tenfold between 2011 and 2015.
- In 2016, the Surgeon General declared that e-cigarette use among young people “is a major public health concern” because early e-cigarette use and nicotine addiction can harm brain development and increase the risk of young people smoking cigarettes.
Long-Term Use and Associated Risks
- Teen e-cigarette users are 23 percent more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes within six months of use than teens who don’t use e-cigarettes.
- The younger a person is when he or she tries nicotine, the greater the risk of addiction.
- Teens who used e-cigarettes and hookahs were up to four times more likely to use marijuana.
- Students who tried e-cigarettes when they were high school freshmen had a more than three-fold greater likelihood of ever using marijuana and using marijuana in the past 30 days than students who hadn’t tried e-cigarettes.
- Daily use of e-cigarettes is associated with nearly a doubling of the odds of a heart attack.
- It doesn’t happen very often, but e-cigarette batteries have malfunctioned, causing burns on the hands and face as well as other bodily injuries – some as recently as last year. According to the CDC, children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.
Perception and Awareness
- Nearly 20% of young adults believe e-cigarettes cause no harm, while more than half believe that they are moderately harmful.
- 99% of e-cigarette products sold in 2015 at U.S. convenience stores, supermarkets, mass merchandisers, and similar outlets contain nicotine, according to a CDC report.
- 63% of JUUL users – the most popular e-cigarette brand on the market — did not know that the product always contains nicotine.
- There are nearly 500 brands and 7,700 flavors of e-cigarettes on the market, and none of them have been evaluated by the FDA.
- E-cigarettes are a multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States.
- Juul – the most popular e-cigarette with about two-thirds share of the market – is worth more than $16 billion.
- As we recently explored, the industry is largely unregulated, and the FDA won’t be examining it closely for a few more years. (The FDA extended its review of the industry until 2022.)
- The industry is unabashedly targeting youth, and only very recently did the FDA step in to crack down on marketing to kids.
TST has worked with dozens of communities in Texas to become smoke-free – and now make sure they include ENDS in their local policies. We will continue our efforts to collaborate with prevention groups on their local efforts to eliminate and reduce tobacco use for the health and safety of our kids and communities. If you have any questions or want more information about what you can do in your community on this issue or other tobacco-related issues, please contact Steve at SRoss@TexansStandingTall.org or 512.442.7501.