The E-Cigarette Epidemic

By: Najma Abdirahman, Samantha Boval, Patrick Germain, Sean Louis, and Chima Njoku

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes (JUULing) are another word for electronic cigarettes, hookahs or vapes. Many people believe that it is safer than smoking cigarettes but in fact, they are somewhat alike. Cigarettes contain highly addictive toxic chemicals like nicotine, formaldehyde and lead. E-cigarettes are also addictive and come in all shapes and sizes. They can resemble everyday items like a pen or a flash drive and also run on batteries. Many people use e-cigarettes to try to stop smoking cigarettes because they believe that it's safer or that it will help them quit but it doesn't necessarily work. The liquids in e-cigarettes also come in a variety of flavors such as cherry crush, cotton candy, and chocolate mint.

Use among the U.S. population

E-cigarettes mostly influence the youth in the U.S. In 2018, 3.6 million U.S middle and high school students have used e-cigarettes. That’s 4.9% of middle schoolers and 20.8% high schoolers. However, this doesn’t mean that only youth use them, 58.8% of U.S. adults in 2017 were already cigarette smokers. 40% of U.S citizens between the ages of 18 and 24 have never been a regular cigarette smoker.

The problem

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is addictive and toxic to developing fetuses. Nicotine can also harm adolescent and brain development, which continues into the early mid 20s. Some of the ingredients in e-cigarettes include aerosol, which could cause long-term harm to the lungs. E-cigarettes are not healthy because they contain harmful chemicals. 

Moving Forward

One way to prevent people from interacting with e-cigarettes is to spread awareness about the dangers of smoking e-cigarettes. Another way is to not use e-cigarettes in front of young people because they see your behavior as an example and might be exposed to the nicotine and other harmful chemicals in e-cigarettes. In addition, you should choose places that are tobacco-free locations like restaurants.


  • In 2015: 1.3% of e-cigarette users aged 45 years and older had never been cigarette smokers. Yet, 40.0% of e-cigarette users aged 18 - 24 years had never been cigarette smokers.

  • E-cigarette manufacturers are not required to give any information about the chemicals in their products, where they are manufactured, how they are made, or the effects it has on the public.

  • Youth that are exposed to e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.

  • E-cigarette devices can be used to smoke marijuana and many different drugs.