Vaping and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

Vaping Overview 

Electronic vapor products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are referred to by a variety of names including e-cigarettes or e-cigs, vapes, vape or hookah pens, mods, tank systems, Pod systems or disposables. Many are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, while others resemble pens, USB sticks, or other everyday items. Liquid used in these products typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals and is aerosolized by a battery-powered heating element in the device. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. ENDS can also be used to deliver cannabis and other drugs. Use of these products is commonly referred to as vaping, ‘hitting’ or ’ripping’. Many ENDS devices are rechargeable and refillable, allowing users to create their own ‘e-juice’ flavor and vary the nicotine levels. E-liquids may have a high level of nicotine which can be poisonous, especially for young children. Though flavors were restricted in cartridge-based devices by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020, there are thousands of liquid or ‘e-juice’ flavors available, many of which are candy or fruit-flavored and appealing to youth.

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) come in a wide variety of devices and include disposable, refillable, and pod-based systems.

Graphic Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Most ENDS consist of four components: a cartridge or reservoir (which holds a liquid solution), a heating element, a power source (usually a lithium battery), and a mouthpiece. Currently, the most widely used devices are pod-based and disposable such as Elf Bar, Puff Bar, or Juul.

Parts of an electronic cigarette

Graphic courtesy of

Health Risks 

Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and is not safe for youth, pregnant people, or their developing babies. Nicotine can harm brain development, impact behavior, and effect respiratory health.

The aerosol inhaled and exhaled from ENDS is not harmless. It can contain nicotine, heavy metals, ultrafine particles, and other toxic substances.

Image of particles and chemicals in electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)

Graphic courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In 2019, a nationwide outbreak of E-Cigarette or Vaping Associated Lung Injury (EVALI) was investigated. Vitamin E acetate, an additive to THC-containing e-cigarette or vaping products was strongly associated with the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided a 2023 update on the status and characteristics of the outbreak.

More research is needed to determine if ENDS are an effective tobacco cessation tool for adults. They are not an FDA approved aid for quitting.

Environmental Risks

ENDS contain hazardous components that impact the environment including batteries, microplastics, and chemicals like nicotine. Improper disposal can pollute soil, water, and harm wildlife. Defective vaping device batteries have also caused some fires and explosions, a few of which have resulted in serious injuries.

Read more about how tobacco harms the environment

CT Data Trends

ENDS are the most prevalent form of tobacco product used by Connecticut high school youth. In 2021, more than 1 in 10 high school students reported past 30-day use of vaping products compared to just over 1 in 100 reported past 30-day use of cigarettes. 

About 13% of adults have tried ENDS at least once in their lifetime, including nearly 23% of young adults. Nearly 30% of adults who vape also smoke combustible cigarettes.

Visit Stats & Reports to learn more about tobacco use in Connecticut and view state-specific data. 

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