Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.
What is vaping?
Vaping is using a device to inhale vapor that may contain nicotine, flavorings, or chemicals from marijuana. The devices may also be called electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes. They may look like pens or flash drives.
How do vapes work?
Vapes have four main parts:
- The mouthpiece.
- It's where you breathe in to use the device.
- A cartridge.
- It holds the vaping liquid made of liquid nicotine, flavors, and other chemicals. These liquids come in different flavors and nicotine strengths. THC can also be used. It comes in disposable pods or refillable cartridges.
- A heating element.
- It turns the vaping liquid into tiny liquid particles suspended in a gas. This is called an aerosol.
- A battery.
- It provides power to the heating element.
You inhale through the mouthpiece. This turns on the battery. The battery heats the vaping liquid or THC into an aerosol cloud that you breathe in. This is called vaping.
Is vaping safe?
These are some things to consider about vaping.
- It can cause a deadly lung injury.
- The "vapor" made by vaping contains harmful chemicals. There have been cases of lung disease and death related to vaping. Many of these may be from vaping products with THC (a chemical in marijuana) or other additives. The exact cause of lung damage is not known.
- Vaping products often have nicotine.
- Nicotine is addictive. It can be hard to stop using it. Nicotine can be harmful to developing brains, such as in fetuses, children, and young adults. Liquid nicotine can be poisonous if swallowed or spilled on skin. Keep it out of children's reach.
- Vaping can expose those around you to secondhand aerosol.
- There is a concern about possible health risks from secondhand aerosol exposure.
- Vaping devices can catch fire or explode.
- Vaping devices can explode. This can cause burns or injuries.
Should you use vaping to stop smoking?
Some people may use vaping products to try to quit smoking. But vaping isn't approved as a quit-smoking aid and may not be safe. Some people have had serious lung problems from vaping, and the long-term effects are not known. Talk to your doctor about approved therapies if you are trying to quit smoking.
Current as of: March 21, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.