Vaping & E-Cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes are small electronic devices used to simulate tobacco smoking. Rather than burn tobacco, e-cigarettes use heating elements to atomize a liquid solution, creating an aerosol that is inhaled by the user in place of smoke. This aerosol is commonly referred to as vapor, and as such, the use of e-cigarettes is known as vaping.

Vapor from e-cigarettes typically consists of propylene glycol, glycerine, flavoring, and nicotine, as well as trace quantities of other chemicals, some of which are known to be harmful. Compared to cigarette smoke, however, e-cigarette vapor contains fewer harmful chemicals in lower quantities. It is likely that vaping is significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco, but its full effect on health remains unclear.

Most students at DU do not vape. In a recent survey, 70% reported no use of e-cigarettes at all in the prior 30 days. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes, is unsafe for young people.

  • What Are E-Cigarettes and JUULing?

    E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid to produce a cloud of small particles called an aerosol, which is commonly referred to as "vapor." They are known by many different names such as "e-cigs," "e-hookahs," "mods," "vape pens," "vapes," "tank systems," and "electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)."

    E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a small reservoir for holding liquid. Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some look like USB flash drives, pens, and other everyday items. Larger devices such as tank systems or "mods" do not look like other tobacco products at all.

    Use of e-cigarettes is sometimes referred to as "JUULing." JUUL is a brand of e-cigarette that is shaped like a USB drive. It is one of the few e-cigarette brands containing nicotine salts, which allow high levels of nicotine to be inhaled more easily and with less irritation compared to other tobacco products, including other e-cigarettes. A single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.

    Get more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • What Impact do E-Cigarettes Have on Health?

    Many people report using e-cigarettes because they are likely less harmful than conventional cigarettes. Although e-cigarettes contain fewer harmful chemicals in lower quantities than burned cigarettes, the use of any nicotine product, including e-cigarettes, is addictive and unsafe for young people.

    Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive and can harm brain and lung development in young people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs. Some e-cigarette labels do not specify that they contain nicotine, even when they do.

    E-cigarette vapor contains additional harmful substances such as volatile organic compounds, cancer-causing chemicals, ultra-fine particles, and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead.

    Some e-cigarette flavoring contains diacetyl, prolonged exposure to which has been linked to a serious lung disease.

    Get more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act of 2019

    Colorado is committed to creating smoke-free communities and protecting people from exposure to secondhand smoke. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, passed by the state legislature in 2006, was a big step forward for smoke-free and healthy communities.

    In 2019, Colorado updated the law to address vaping, which, whether inside or outside, can impact people nearby. In addition to prohibiting vaping in most public indoor settings, the updated law removed exemptions for hotels and small businesses. It also increased the distance from building entrances where people cannot smoke or vape from 15 feet to 25 feet.

    The law still permits smoking in outdoor spaces where people gather, like some restaurant patios, sidewalks, concert venues, parks, and trails.

    Get more information from tobaccofreeco.org and breathefreecolorado.org.

  • Resources for Quitting Tobacco and E-Cigarette Use

    E-cigarettes and other vaping devices are a controversial method of smoking cessation because they still contain nicotine and can be used in addition to smoking cigarettes.

    If you or someone you know is trying to quit smoking, vaping, or other tobacco use, here are some tools that provide free coaching and support to help with quitting:

    • Colorado QuitLine service – 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
    • SmokefreeTXT – Text QUIT to 47848
    • DipfreeTXT (for quitting smokeless tobacco) – Text SPIT to 333888
    • Practice Quit – Text GO to 47848
    • Free quitSTART App
    • Livehelp.cancer.gov or 1-877-448-7848
    • This is Quitting (for quitting vaping) - Text DITCHJUUL to 88709
    Quit Vaping