Health Issues - What's the Harm?
When teens vape, they inhale much more than flavored aerosol mist. They breathe in addictive nicotine and dozens of dangerous chemicals.
Research suggests that vaping may affect the way cells in the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs) react to germs and may increase the chance of disease and infection from bacterial and virus, like the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaping may also make it harder to recover from infections and increase the possibility of complications. Learn more at DrugAbuse.gov.
Effects on the body
Vapes emit an aerosol that includes at least 31 chemicals and compounds that affect different parts of the body.
- The brain is still developing until about age 25. Using nicotine in adolescence can permanently harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control.
- Flavoring chemicals such as diacetyl can permanently injure the lungs.
- Breathing in ultrafine vapor particles can cause asthma attacks, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Organs (brain, heart, kidneys, lungs, liver):
Heavy metals in vapor can build up in the blood and organs and cause damage.
Head (eyes, nose, throat):
- Chemicals known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, cause eye, nose and throat irritation, severe headaches, nausea and organ damage
- Formaldehyde irritates the eyes, nose, throat and skin and may cause lung and throat cancer over time.
Skin and face:
- Exploding batteries have caused serious burns and at least one death.
Nicotine is addictive and can harm adolescent brain development. The brain continues developing into the mid-20s. Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control. In addition, teens who use nicotine are more likely to experiment with other substances.
Nicotine addiction is difficult to break. It takes determination, support and time to stop vaping for good
Epidemic in Texas and beyond
Five million middle and high school students vaped last year. About one-fourth of high school students have vaped in the past 30 days. The popularity of vaping is growing rapidly each year.
High school (2018 data)
Middle school (2018 data)
Reporting cases of lung illness
Report a case by completing the Vaping-Related Lung Illness Case Report Form.