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    Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch
    DSHS Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section
    1100 West 49th Street, Mail Code 1965
    Austin, TX 78756

    Phone: 512-776-7111
    Fax: (512) 776-7555


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E-Cigarettes

photo of various e-cigarette and vaping devices

Vaping Epidemic

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and local health departments are investigating cases of severe lung illness in people with a recent history of vaping.

Vaping is defined as the use of an electronic device (electronic cigarette, e-cigarette, vaporizer, vape[s], vape pen, dab pen, or other device) or dabbing to inhale substances (nicotine, marijuana, THC, THC concentrations, CBD, synthetic cannabinoids, flavorings, or other substances).

Get up-to-date information about cases of severe lung illness caused by vaping in Texas.  

Learn more about vaping and how to talk to your kids about vaping by visiting:

If you would like to report a case with similar clinical presentation and history of vaping, please report it to DSHS by calling 512-422-0925 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

E-cigarettes – Trends, Facts, and Associated Dangers

Download the  E-Cigarette Fact Sheet.

E-cigarettes entered the U.S. Market place around 2007.  Since 2014, they have been the most commonly used tobacco product among youth. In 2018, e-cigarette use (referred to as ‘vaping’ or ‘JUULing’) reached epidemic levels. 

What are e-cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are tobacco products. Some  resemble regular cigarettes, cigars, pipes and some have a modern, sleek design and look like writing pens or USB sticks. The products are commonly known as ENDS – electronic nicotine delivery system(s).

Other common names:

  • Mods
  • Hookah pens
  • Vape sticks
  • Personal vaporizers (PV)
  • Tank systems
  • Smoke Juice

How do e-cigarettes work?

Most e-cigarettes have a battery, a heating element, and place to hold a liquid (such as a cartridge or pod). As the user draws on the device, the battery heats the e-liquid to produce aerosol not a water vapor. The aerosol is then inhaled into the lungs. Whether it’s an e-cigarette, vape pen, e-hookah, using an electronic cigarette is called “vaping.” 

Associated Dangers

  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is very addictive and can harm adolescent brain development. The brain continues developing into the early to mid-20s. Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control. It can also  be a gateway to using other substances. 
  • Some e-cigarette flavorings may be safe to eat but not to breathe. This is because the gut can process more substances than the lungs.
  • A common ingredient in e-cigarette flavoring is diacetyl. Diacetyl causes bronchiolitis obliterans, known as "popcorn lung". It is a scarring of the tiny air sacs in the lungs. This causes thickening and narrowing of the airways, which can lead to wheezing, shortness of breath, and is a serious health concern.
  • Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions. Some explosions have resulted in serious injuries and death. 
  • Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.
  • There have been reports of youth and young adults experiencing seizures after vaping. Seizures or convulsions are potential side effects of nicotine poisoning.

National Data

In 2018, 20.8% of U.S. high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.  This is a 9.1% increase compared to 2017. From 2017-2018, U.S. middle school students who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days increased from 3.3% to 4.9%.

Texas Data

According to the 2018 Texas Youth Tobacco Survey, 13% of youth used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. This means that, 18.9% of high school students and 6.0% of middle school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. 

Last updated September 13, 2019