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Drugs & Health Blog

The Real Cost of Vaping

Image courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The NIDA Blog Team

Update (January 2020): Government Regulation of E-cigarettes 

In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a rule for e-cigarettes and their liquid solutions. Because e-cigarettes contain nicotine derived from tobacco, they are now subject to government regulation as tobacco products. In December 2019, the federal government raised the legal minimum age of sale of tobacco products from 18 to 21 years, and in January 2020, the FDA issued a policy on the sale of flavored vaping cartridges. 

Update (November 2019): Reports of Deaths Related to Vaping

The FDA has alerted the public to thousands of reports of serious lung illnesses associated with vaping, including dozens of deaths. They’re working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the cause of these illnesses. The CDC has posted an information page for consumers.

For the latest information (as of March 2020), read this blog post.


Since vaping products like JUUL (also known as e-cigarettes) appeared on the scene, they’ve been getting more and more popular with teens. About 7 years ago, 10 percent of high school students had tried e-cigarettes. In 2019, more than a third of high school seniors said they’d used e-cigs in the past year.

Even though they don’t produce tobacco smoke like regular cigarettes, e-cigarettes are not harmless. When you vape, you’re inhaling several poisonous chemicals.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public about a teen vaping epidemic in America. The FDA also wants to educate teachers and parents about certain products that are designed to look like flash drives and are easily hidden from teachers in schools.

There’s also a process underway to review the use of flavorings used in e-cigs. 

E-cig flavorings are popular with teens, but they bring health risks of their own. Many years ago, the FDA banned the use of flavorings in regular cigarettes, and they could do the same with e-cigs.

Check out the public service announcement below. It’s from the FDA’s Real Cost campaign about the e-cigarette epidemic.

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


my friend is addicted to vape, what should i do?

It sounds like you care for your friend. You should share with him your concerns because drug use can have serious consequences. Listen to him without making judgments. And share scientific information about what vaping can do to a person. Get the latest on how e-cigarettes and nicotine affect the brain and body here: Once your friend understands how e-cigarettes affect the brain, body, and life, it might open his eyes.

You could also talk with your parents, a trusted adult, or the school guidance counselor for advice.

Hello.. My mother and Aunts are addicted to vaping.. what can I do..

Hi Alastor. It seems like you care for your mother and aunts. It can be hard to watch someone you care for have problems with vaping. You want to help, but you’re not sure how. A good first step might be to talk with them about your concerns. You could also talk with a trusted adult like a coach, teacher, or mentor for advice. If you want to share scientific information about what vaping and nicotine can do to a person, you can get the facts here:

your should try to help them no be addicted and make sure that you yourself don't start vaping aswell.
Try to tell him the consequences
My dog ate a vape what do i do?

We recommend you take your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Hello, I'm doing a story about vaping for my class. Can you tell me some of the things some schools are doing to combat vaping?

Great idea for a class story! During National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), some schools held events about vaping. You can find out more on the NDAFW events and highlights page: You might also be interested in checking out the NDAFW toolkit on e-cigarettes:

What are health care causes of e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes are fairly new products. They’ve only been around for about ten years, so researchers are in the early stage of studying how they affect your health.

For more information, you might be interested in reading these blog posts:

How long do long do you have to be smoking a e cigarette to start experiencing the irreversible side effects?

Great question, Al. Because e-cigarettes are fairly newer products (they’ve only been around for about ten years), scientists are in the early phases of studying how they affect someone’s health. The short answer is that we don’t know yet how long it takes for someone to experience irreversible effects from vaping. We do know that vaping nicotine affects the development of the brain’s reward system, so continued e-cigarette use can lead to nicotine addiction. For more information, visit our Drug Facts page on tobacco, nicotine, and e-cigarettes:

Is there such a thing as a "nicotine free" vape?

Vaping products are designed to deliver nicotine. The liquid inside the cartridge contains nicotine along with flavors and other chemicals. Almost all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. And if an e-cigarette is modified (changed), other dangerous chemicals could be included as well. For more information, check out our Nicotine and E-Cigarettes Drug Facts page:

I am doing a project on whether anti-vaping campaigns, such as "The Real Cost" campaigns, are actuallu having any effect on people who vape. Are there any articals that you could guide me to that support these campaigns and their possitive effect on people?

Hi Emily. It’s great to hear that you want to learn more about anti-vaping campaigns. We have information on vaping on both and (You can use the search feature to search on the words “vaping” or on “e-cigarettes”.) Your teacher can also guide you on how to locate other related articles on the effectiveness of vaping campaigns beyond our website. We hope this helps!

I vaped maybe once or twice , before knowing about the costs :( am I ok? Or should I go to a doctor

Yelly, thank you for writing. We recommend that you talk to a health care provider (like a doctor or school nurse) about your concerns about vaping. They can give you the best advice for your situation.

My sister started vaping a little while ago and she said cigarettes are better than vape and every time we tell they aren't she argues with us. What should i do or even tell her to get here to stop vaping?

It’s easy to see that you care very much about your sister. Figuring out how to help someone you love who is vaping can be difficult. Listening to her is a great way to start! There are other things you can do, too: Share scientific information about what vaping can do to a person. For instance, when a person vapes, they inhale some of the same harmful ingredients that are also in regular cigarettes. One of them is nicotine, which is very addictive.

Here are some resources might help give you the facts to share with her:

I know this isn't a gaping question but my dad is addicted to alchohol and he keeps drinking all the time. I don't know what to do to make him quit.

Thank you for reaching out. It’s great to know that you care for your dad so much. Figuring out how to help someone you love who is addicted to alcohol can be tricky. But there are things you can do. If you feel safe saying so, let him know how concerned you are. Listen without making judgments. You can also talk with another trusted adult for advice, especially if you ever feel unsafe or worried.

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