Health Facts and Risks About Smoking and Vaping


Smoking Facts

Diseases and Death Facts

  • Smoking leads to disease and disability and harms nearly every organ in your body.
  • For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking related illness.
  • Smoking causes cancer almost anywhere in your body - bladder, blood (acute myeloid leukemia), cervix, colon and rectum (colorectal), esophagus, kidney and ureter, larynx, liver, oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and tonsils), pancreas, stomach trachea, bronchus and lung.
  • Smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs (alveoli) found in your lungs.  Lung diseases caused by smoking include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • Smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease, which are among the leading causes of death in the United States.
  • Smoking damages blood vessels and can make them thicker and grow narrower.  This makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure to go up.  Clots can also form.
  • A stoke occurs when a clot blocks the blood flow to part of your brain or a blood vessel around your brain bursts.
  • Blockages caused by smoking can also reduce blood flow to your legs and skin.
  • Smoking also increases risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Smoking and nicotine is toxic to developing fetuses and a health danger to pregnant women. 
  • Smoking is a known cause of erectile dysfunction in males.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.
  • Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 8 million deaths per year.
  • Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.  This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.
  • On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.
  • If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in the United States would not happen.

E-Cigarette Facts

Facts on the Risks of E-Cigarettes for Kids, Teens and Young Adults
  • The use of e-cigarettes is unsafe for kids, teens and young adults.
  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early mid-20s.
  • E-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.
  • Young people who use e-cigarettes may be more likely to smoke cigarettes in the future.
What Are E-Cigarettes and How Do They Work?
  • E-cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid and produce an aerosol, or mix of small particles in the air.
  • E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element and a place to hold a liquid.
  • Some e-cigarettes look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes.  Some look like USB flash drives, pens and other everyday items.  Larger devices such as tank systems, or "mods," do not look like other tobacco products.
  • E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called "e-cigs," "e-hookahs," "mods," vape pens," "vapes," "tank systems," and "electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)."
  • Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called "vaping" or "JUULing."
  • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol.
  • The liquid used in e-cigarettes often contains nicotine and flavorings.  The liquid is sometimes called "e-juice," "e-liquid," "vape juice," or "vape liquid."
  • Users inhale e-cigarette aerosol into their lungs.  Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales it into the air.
  • E-cigarette devices can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.
What Is in E-Cigarette Aerosol?
  • E-cigarette aerosol is NOT harmless "water vapor."
  • The e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including: Nicotine, Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, Flavorings such as diacetyl - a chemical linked to a serious lung disease, Volatile organic compounds, Cancer causing chemicals, Heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead.
  • The aerosol that users inhale and exhale from e-cigarettes can expose both themselves and bystanders to harmful substances.
  • It is difficult for consumers to know what e-cigarette products contain.  For example, some e-cigarettes marketed as containing zero percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.
Why Is Nicotine Unsafe for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults?
  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine - - the additive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products.
  • A recent CDC study found that 99% of the e-cigarettes sold in assessed venues in the United States contained nicotine.
  • Some e-cigarette labels do not disclose that they contain nicotine, and some e-cigarettes marketed as containing 0% nicotoine have been found to contain nicotine.
  • Nicotine can be found to harm the devloping adolescent brain.  The brain keeps developing until about the age of 25.
  • Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control.
  • Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections - or synapses - are built between brain cells.  Young people's brains build synapses faster than adult brains.  Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.
  • Using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
All information contained on this page comes from the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)