Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes) and Vapor Products

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and other vapor products are devices used to heat and aerosolize (turn into particles) highly addictive nicotine or other substances that a person can inhale into their lungs. The use of an e-cigarette is usually called "vaping."

E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, heating element, and place to hold a liquid, usually containing highly addictive nicotine, that is added or included in the device. The heating element aerosolizes the liquid for the inhalation of the liquid nicotine or other substance. E-cigarettes are called many different names, including "vapes," "e-cigs," "vapor products," and "electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)."

Other electronic vapor products that use e-liquids include e-cigars, e-pipes, and hookah pens (e-hookah).

For more information, see E-Cigarettes (Vapes).

Help for Youth and Young Adults Who Want to Quit Vaping

About two-thirds of youth in the U.S. who use tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, report wanting to quit and trying to quit.1

To assist New York State youth in quitting vaping, Drop the Vape is a New York State-specific free and anonymous text messaging program, designed by the Truth Initiative®, and created with input from teens, college students, and young adults who have attempted to, or successfully, quit vaping.

New York State youth, ages 13-17, and young adults, ages 18-24, can text DropTheVape to 88709 to sign up to receive age-appropriate supportive and motivating text messages to support quit efforts. Enrollees in the program receive interactive daily text messages tailored to their sign-up date or their target quit date if they set one. Those without a quit date receive messages for at least one month. Program users who set a quit date (which they can change) receive messages for at least one week prior to the quit date and for at least two months following the quit date.

Drop the Vape also directs users to the New York State Quitline for free and confidential quit-coaching via telephone, internet, and text, and free starter kits of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for eligible New Yorkers.

For more information and help, visit Quit Vaping.

To order or download Drop the Vape posters, palm cards, and rack cards in English and Spanish, visit the Publication Catalog and click on "S" for Smoking, Vaping, and Commercial Tobacco Use, "T" for Tobacco Use, or "V" for Vaping Tobacco and Nicotine in the index to view the available materials and publication numbers. Scroll to the top of the page and click on the blue "Order Publications" box for ordering information and to complete the order form.

Youth Vaping is Epidemic

Youth and young adults are the primary users of e-cigarettes.2,3 In a national survey, middle school and high school students said their reasons for first trying an e-cigarette were a friend used them and curiosity.4 Among youth who continue to vape, their most common reasons for using e-cigarettes are they felt anxious, stressed, or depressed, or to get a high or buzz from the nicotine.4

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product by high school students in New York State.5 Although the cigarette smoking rate among youth is the lowest on record at 2.1%, nearly 1 in 5 high school students (18.7%) reported vaping nicotine in 2022.5 To view trends in any tobacco product use among youth, see Youth Tobacco Use Continues to Decline Across All Product Types in 2022, One in Five Youth Still Use Tobacco and Youth and Tobacco Use.

Nicotine is Addictive and Dangerous for Youth and Young Adults

Most e-liquids contain nicotine, the highly addictive chemical in all tobacco products.6 Nicotine can harm the developing brain of adolescents and young adults, which can:

  • lead to lower impulse control and mood disorders.
  • disrupt attention and learning among youth and young adults.
  • increase the risk for future addiction to other drugs.6

Some e-cigarette brands and other nicotine products state they contain synthetic nicotine rather than nicotine made from or derived from tobacco. New York State law restricts the sale of flavored vapor products intended or reasonably expected to be used with or for the consumption of nicotine, regardless of whether the nicotine is derived from tobacco or synthetic.

As of April 14, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has regulatory authority over synthetic nicotine as it does over tobacco-derived nicotine.

E-cigarette Aerosol is Harmful

The e-cigarette aerosol users inhale and exhale is not harmless water vapor. With or without nicotine, inhaling e-cigarette aerosol and exposure to the aerosol is unsafe. E-cigarette aerosol can contain:

  • highly addictive nicotine that can harm brain development
  • ultrafine toxic particles that can interfere with the growth and work of the lungs and increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and asthma attacks
  • harmful heavy metals such as lead, tin, and nickel
  • volatile organic compounds that can cause long-term health effects including cancer.6

New York State Actions to Protect Youth from Nicotine Addiction

Almost all adults addicted to nicotine started smoking or using other tobacco products in their teens. Nearly 9 out of 10 adult smokers started smoking by age 18, and 99% of adults started by age 26.7

New York State has enacted strong policies to protect youth from accessing tobacco products and denormalize tobacco and nicotine use to prevent lifelong addiction, illness, and early death. Policies include banning the sale of flavored vapor products, ending price discounts on tobacco and vapor products, and banning the exterior display of tobacco and vapor product ads near schools. Learn more at New York State Tobacco Control Laws.

A priority of the New York State Tobacco Control Program is to prevent the initiation of tobacco use, including combustible tobacco and electronic cigarettes, by youth and young adults. The Program funds Reality Check, the youth engagement component for New York State teens, ages 13-18, to increase support for New York State's tobacco-free and vape-free norms through youth action and community engagement. Evidence-based, policy-driven, and cost-effective approaches are implemented to decrease youth tobacco use, protect youth from exposure to tobacco marketing and imagery, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. Visit Reality Check for more information and to find your local Reality Check group.

For More Information about E-cigarettes


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking Cessation: Fast Facts. Page last reviewed: March 21, 2022.
  2. Birdsey J, Cornelius M, Jamal A, et al. Tobacco Product Use Among U.S. Middle and High School Students — National Youth Tobacco Survey, 2023. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2023;72:1173–1182. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7244a1.
  3. Kramarow EA, Elgaddal N. Current electronic cigarette use among adults aged 18 and over: United States, 2021. NCHS Data Brief, no 475. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2023. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.15620/cdc:129966.
  4. Gentzke AS, Wang TW, Cornelius M, et al. Tobacco Product Use and Associated Factors Among Middle and High School Students — National Youth Tobacco Survey, United States, 2021. MMWR Surveill Summ 2022;71(No. SS-5):1–29. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.ss7105a1.
  5. New York State Department of Health. Youth Tobacco Use Continues to Decline Across All Product Types in 2022, One in Five Youth Still Use Tobacco. Bureau of Tobacco Control. StatShot Vol. 15, No.1/May 2023.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults. Page last reviewed: November 2, 2023.
  7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2012.
  8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Smoking Cessation. A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2020.