What You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes and Vaping | NYC Health + Hospitals

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What You Need to Know About E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Health officials are investigating an outbreak of lung illnesses related to e-cigarette use or vaping. Nationwide, there have been hundreds of cases of lung disease, including several cases in New York City.

Electronic cigarettes – or e-cigarettes – are battery-powered devices that heat liquid to produce an aerosol that users inhale into their lungs. The act of using an e-cigarette is called vaping.

E-cigarette liquids do not contain tobacco, but they almost always contain flavorings and nicotine, which is addictive. E-liquids may also contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabinoid (CBD) oils or other substances and additives.

So far, health officials have not identified any specific e-cigarette or vaping product linked to lung disease. However, Dr. Kelly Kyanko, primary care physician at NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, is recommending that New Yorkers stop using e-cigarette products.

Dr. Kelly Kyanko, primary care physician, NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue

“Until we know more, New Yorkers should consider stopping use of e-cigarettes or vaping products,” said Dr. Kyanko, who is also director of Bellevue’s Stop Smoking Program.

“If you are an adult who uses e-cigarettes because you have quit cigarette smoking, don’t return to smoking cigarettes. See your doctor or find a smoking cessation program to help you quit.”

Here are five things you need to know about e-cigarettes and vaping.

  • Watch for symptoms of lung illness – Some people who smoked e-cigarettes, developed symptoms over a few days. Others said that their symptoms developed over several weeks. If you have used an e-cigarette or vaping product and have any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away.

    Symptoms include:

    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • Fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain
  • Health risks – We do not know the long-term effects of e-cigarettes.

    But, the aerosol from heated e-liquids can contain harmful chemicals, such as:

    • Formaldehyde and benzene, which can cause cancer
    • Diacetyl from flavoring, which is linked to lung disease
    • Heavy metals, such as nickel, tin and lead
  • Don’t use e-cigarettes to help quit smoking – E-cigarettes are not approved by the FDA to help people quit smoking. If you are an adult who uses e-cigarettes because you quit cigarette smoking, do not return to smoking cigarettes. Instead, we recommend nicotine patches, nicotine gum or FDA approved medications which can double your chances of success.
  • Teens are at risk – Youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try cigarettes later. If you are a parent or guardian, talk to your children about the risks of using e-cigarettes. Encourage an open, ongoing conversation.
  • Find support to help you quit – If you are looking for help to quit smoking cigarettes or e-cigarettes, contact one of our smoking cessation programs. Call 1-844-NYC-4NYC.

More Resources:

NYCDOHMH E-Cigarettes Health Risks
CDC Key Facts about E-Cigarette Use or Vaping
New York State Department of Health Electronic Cigarettes Facts

For help quitting smoking or vaping, make an appointment with an NYC Health + Hospitals Tobacco Cessation Counselor.

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