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Vaping. By Our Student Pharmacist, Barry Shen.


What is Vaping:

Vaping is a form of smoking from an electronic cigarette, vaporizer, or hookah. Vaping was originally advertised by cigarette companies as an alternative “safer” way to smoke for those attempting to quit. This promotion is misleading since vaping is not FDA approved as an aid for quitting smoking.

The very companies promoting the use of electronic cigarettes and other vaping products are the same ones selling regular cigarettes which shows an obvious conflict of interest. For example, Juul, one of the largest companies for electronic cigarettes, is owned by Altria which is the same company that produces Marlboro cigarettes.  Recently, Juul announced it will suspend all advertising of their vaping products with their CEO Kevin Burns stepping down from his position.

Is it safer than smoking cigarettes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaping is considered “less harmful” compared to smoking a regular cigarette. However, it should be noted that just because a product isn’t as harmful as the original doesn’t mean it is safe to use. While there aren’t as many chemicals in electronic cigarettes, they still contain harmful products such as nicotine, lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents. In adolescents, these chemicals have the additional harm of stunting their learning and memory development.

Pod components

How do they work?

Electronic cigarettes are composed of a battery, a container holding the solution, a heater, and a mouthpiece. When in use, the solution, which typically contains nicotine, is heated into an aerosol that can then be inhaled.

 Types of Vapes

There are many different types of devices used for vaping sold by several brands. Some of the largest companies selling electronic cigarettes are Juul, Markten, and VUSE.

Originally, the first generation electronic cigarettes resembled normal cigarettes with a white body and tan mouthpiece. Over time, their designs diverged from the traditional cigarette appearance into more aesthetically pleasing shapes such as pens and USB drives. Flavors like mango and strawberries have also been added. Aside from nicotine, patients have also reported vaping THC and CBD with their devices.

Yearn Juul

Who vapes?

There are increasing reports of lung injury and deaths correlating with the use of vaping products especially among teens. To make matters more frightening, these companies are coming out with products that come in a variety of appealing colors, shapes, and flavors. One example is Juul’s UNWELL YEARN Pods. The shape they come in greatly resembles a USB stick. When in use, they admit no odors or any visible smoke. Because of this, teens are able to sneak these products into the middle of class to use while fooling their teachers into thinking they are just a kid who has a habit of nibbling on their USB.

According to the CDC, there are nine reported deaths in the US so far with the cause being related to vaping. The State of Ohio has taken steps to prevent these tobacco products from getting into the hands of children by increasing the age restriction of being able to purchase from 18 to 21. These are all steps in the right direction to protect our youths from the harmful effects of vaping.


  1. US Department of Health and Human Services. E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon Generalpdf icon[PDF – 8.47MB]. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2016. Accessed July 27, 2018.
  2. https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/25/business/juul-ceo-resigns/index.html
  3. https://csnews.com/ohio-governor-signs-tobacco-21-measure-law

Image references:

  1. https://www.elementvape.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/
  2. https://www.kingcounty.gov/tobacco/juul
  3. https://i0.wp.com/www.nationalreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/juul-vaping.jpg?resize=1024%2C597&ssl=1

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