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 Electronic Cigarettes.

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.7

To assist youth in quitting vaping, New York State's Drop the Vape is a NYS-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.1,2 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. 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.3

E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product by high school students in NYS. More than 1 in 5 high school students (22.5%) reported vaping nicotine in 2020.4 While the cigarette smoking rate among high school students has declined 91% since 2000, the high rate of e-cigarette use among youth makes the rate of any tobacco product use similar to that in 2002.4 To view trends in any tobacco product use among youth, see Milestones in Tobacco Control: Youth Tobacco Use Declines Across All Product Types in 2020, Lowest Youth Smoking Rate on Record 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.5 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.5

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:

  • nicotine
  • 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
  • heavy metals such as lead, tin, and nickel
  • volatile organic compounds that can cause long-term health effects including cancer.5

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% started by age 26.6

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 NYS 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.

E-cigarettes are Not Proven to Help People Quit Smoking

Most youth and young adults do not report using e-cigarettes to quit smoking.8

Most adults who smoke cigarettes want to quit.7 Every year, more than half of smokers report having made a quit attempt.7 Some smokers have heard that e-cigarettes can help them quit. Although some smokers may try e-cigarettes to quit smoking, there is no evidence they are effective. E-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved smoking cessation product – they are classified and regulated as a tobacco product. New York State strongly discourages the use of e-cigarettes and vapor products for any reason.

Highly addictive nicotine can make it hard to quit, but people who smoke can and do quit for good. Treatment, including brief counseling by a health care provider and one or a combination of seven FDA-approved quit-smoking medications, is proven to increase adults' ability to quit for good. For information on FDA-approved cessation drugs, visit Learn About Quit Smoking Medicines.

For more information and help quitting any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, talk to your health care provider. For additional assistance, call or visit the New York State Smokers' Quitline at 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487) or text (716) 309-4688. For further quit information, visit Quit Help and Information.

For More Information about E-cigarettes


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth e-cigarette use is down, but 3.6 million still use e-cigarettes. Press Release: September 9, 2020.
  2. Cornelius ME, Loretan CG, Wang TW, Jamal A, Homa DM. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:397–405. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7111a1
  3. 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.
  4. New York State Department of Health. Milestones in Tobacco Control: Youth Tobacco Use Declines Across All Product Types in 2020, Lowest Youth Smoking Rate on Record. Bureau of Tobacco Control. StatShot Vol. 14, No.3/September 2021.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults. Page last reviewed: January 24, 2022.
  6. 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.
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking Cessation: Fast Facts. Page last reviewed: March 21, 2022.
  8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. 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, 2016.