Vaping / E-Cigarettes

Alert: lung injury/disease among e-cigarette users

On Sept. 16, 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its Emergency Operations Center in response to the current investigation into lung injuries and deaths associated with e-cigarette/vaping use.

E-cigarette users in this investigation reported symptoms such as the following, which developed over a few days to a few weeks:

  • cough, shortness of breath or chest pain
  • nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • fatigue, fever or abdominal pain

Recent e-cigarette/vaping product users who have similar symptoms should see a healthcare provider promptly. For updated statistics related to the outbreak, demographics and commonalities among those affected, what public health officials know and don’t know, and specific vaping recommendations, click here.

What is vaping?

Vaping is an alternative way of getting the effects of smoking tobacco or marijuana. Devices used for vaping are often referred to as e-cigarettes, vapes, or vape pens. They function by heating a chemical (“vape juice”), most commonly containing nicotine or THC, to create an aerosol that is then inhaled. This chemical sometimes has added flavors, similar to Hookah. These devices come in many forms; some look like USB drives, others like pens, and others like various everyday items.

  • e-cigs
  • e-hookahs
  • hookah pens
  • vapes
  • vape pens
  • mods (customizable, more powerful vaporizers)

Facts about vaping

  • While e-cigarettes do contain fewer harmful chemicals than smoke from burned tobacco products, they are still harmful to the body. Research so far suggests that vaping devices might be less harmful than combustible cigarettes when people who regularly smoke switch to them as a complete replacement. But nicotine in any form is a highly addictive drug. 
  • Vaping exposes the lungs to a variety of chemicals, including those added to e-liquids, and other chemicals produced during the heating/vaporizing process. A study of some e-cigarette products found the vapor contains known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, as well as potentially toxic metal nanoparticles from the device itself. 
  • The teen years are critical for brain development, which continues into young adulthood. Young people who use nicotine or cannabis products in any form, including e-cigarettes, are uniquely at risk for long-lasting effects.
  • A majority of young adults who use e-cigarettes report using flavored vape juice.
  • Long-term research is needed to understand fully the effects and risks of vaping.

Risks/health implications

  • Lung injuries causing symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain - at times associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain.
  • Nicotine is highly addictive and can negatively affect brain development, which continues through the mid-twenties.
  • The liquid used in e-cigarettes contains many other harmful substances besides nicotine or THC and often has a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes.
  • Chemicals found in e-cigarettes are known to contribute to the development of lung disease and cancer.

Vaping at Binghamton University

Binghamton University is a tobacco-free campus. The use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes/vaping of any form, is prohibited on campus property. The Tobacco-Free Campus Policy is part of the university's commitment to creating a healthy environment for members of the Binghamton community.

Tobacco Cessation

E-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved method for quitting smoking, and scientists have much to learn about whether they are effective in helping smokers quit.
There are other effective methods for quitting smoking. Those interested in quitting smoking or vaping can visit the Resources Page of the ATOD website and scroll down to "Resources to Help You Quit Smoking/Tobacco/Vaping."