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An illustration of two young people vaping electronic cigarettes while talking to each other.

Many myths and misconceptions about vaping can be found online. This publication focuses on helping people understand the latest research-based information about the risks of vaping.

Does Vaping Eliminate Nicotine Addiction?

Typically, no. People tend to replace the amount of nicotine they are getting from cigarettes with vaping devices. Some studies show that they could be helpful for adults if they use low-nicotine or nicotine-free vaping devices. However, low doses are not found in local gas stations and often require going to a vape shop.

Does Vaping Really Have an Impact on the Brain?

Yes. Nicotine influences brain chemistry and affects mood and behavior. Adolescent brains are still developing until age 25, and exposure to nicotine during this time could have effects on brain chemistry and impact mood and behavior.

Is Vaping Less Harmful to Your Lungs than Traditional Cigarettes?

No. While there is no tar, vaping is not risk free. It causes inflammation in the lungs and leads to breathing problems. The type of lung damage is different, but because these devices often contain diacetyl, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, and high levels of nicotine, people are inhaling toxic chemicals known to cause many health problems and cancer.

An illustration of young people vaping electronic cigarettes.Is It True that the Smoke Coming Out Is Just Water Vapor?

No. Vape smoke is an aerosol like hairspray or air freshener. It is a chemical “vapor,” not a water vapor.

Does Vaping Relieve Stress and Anxiety?

No. Using vaping to cope with stress and anxiety is only a temporary fix that leads to a cycle of nicotine dependency. It could make your mood worse and cause you to be irritable, temperamental, and anxious when you do not have nicotine in your system.

Does Vaping Impact Depression and Anxiety?

Yes. There is a connection between vaping nicotine, depression, and anxiety because of the impacts of nicotine withdrawal. Also, teens who already have mental health challenges are at higher risk for developing dependency problems vaping nicotine and THC. Nicotine use has been found to increase the risk of mood disorders, anxiety, and panic attacks for people who already suffer from those issues.

Are Nicotine-Free Devices Completely Safe?

No. While e-juice and disposable devices do not contain nicotine, they are not entirely risk free. Inhaling any foreign substances, such as flavorings and other chemicals, into the lungs carries potential risk, especially for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma. Moreover, the long-term effects of inhaling some of these ingredients are still not fully understood.

Is Vaping THC Safe? Isn’t Marijuana a Natural Herb and Harmless?

No. Many people have a false sense of safety about these products. There have been several cases of youth having acute lung injury and severe respiratory symptoms after vaping THC consistently. Flavored cannabis also has several harmful and cancer-causing aerosols. Moreover, the stronger levels of THC in vaping devices carry a higher risk of youth experiencing psychosis, paranoia, nausea, and vomiting.


Peer Review markAdrienne Duke MarksExtension Specialist, Associate Professor, Family and Child Development, and Synithia Flowers, Regional Extension Agent, Human Nutrition, Diet, and Health, both with Auburn University

New May 2024, Helping Parents Understand Vaping: Common Vaping Questions Answered, FCS-2807

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