A Public Health Crisis: Electronic Cigarettes, Vape, and JUUL

Susan C. WalleyKaren M. WilsonJonathan P. Winickoff and Judith Groner


Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and vape devices have rapidly become the most common tobacco products used by youth, driven in large part by marketing and advertising by e-cigarette companies. There is substantial evidence that adolescent e-cigarette use leads to use of combustible tobacco products. E-cigarette companies commonly advertise that e-cigarettes contain nicotine, flavoring chemicals, and humectants (propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerin), but toxicants, ultrafine particles, and carcinogens have also been found in e-cigarette solutions and emissions, many of which are known to cause adverse health effects. Most major e-cigarette brands are owned by big tobacco companies that use similar marketing and advertising strategies to attract youth users as they did with traditional tobacco products. In this review, we provide an overview of e-cigarettes and vape devices with an emphasis on the impact for the pediatric population. We describe the vast array of e-cigarette devices and solutions, concern for nicotine addiction, and the scientific background on the known health harms. There are accompanying visual depictions to assist in identifying these products, including newer e-cigarette products and JUUL. Because current federal regulations are insufficient to protect youth from e-cigarette use, exposure, and nicotine addiction, there are recommendations for pediatricians and pediatric health care providers to counsel and advocate for a tobacco-free lifestyle for patients and families.

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June 2019

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