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Vaping Devices and Marijuana

Vaping Devices:

Vaping devices are also known as electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-devices, e-pens, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems, vape-pens, mods and by other names. Vaping devices heat a liquid solution, usually containing nicotine, to simulate the feeling of smoking. Vaping devices produce an exhaled vapor that mimics smoke. Devices can be battery-powered or rechargeable; disposable or refillable. The liquid solution is often referred to as e-juice. Vaping refers to the use of a vaping device. When a person inhales on a vaping device, the device heats the e-juice which produces an aerosol. This aerosol is typically referred to as “vapor.”

The e-juice used in vaping devices usually contains nicotine. Nicotine is a fast acting, highly-addictive, and harmful drug. The e-juice sold for use in vaping devices is available in hundreds of different flavors.
Public Health Concerns with Vaping and Vaping Devices
Secondhand vapor: Evidence indicates that the vapor produced by vaping devices is not safe. Vapor has been found to contain nicotine, heavy metals, ultrafine particulates, toxic chemicals and cancer causing agents.1 The vapor can also contain ingredients, such as propylene glycol and flavorings, which are recognized as safe for use as food additives, but have not been deemed safe for inhalation.2  When vaping devices are used, bystanders are exposed to the toxic chemicals and carcinogens through secondhand vapor. The long-term health impacts of inhaling this vapor are unknown. Vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, children and people with cardiovascular conditions, may be at elevated risk.
Unknown Substances: Vaping devices can be used to consume any liquid, including liquid THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Users can also create their own e-juice. It is impossible to know what product is being used in a vaping device, thus exposing bystanders to unknown substances and particulates.
Rising Youth Initiation: In 2014, 26 percent of high school sophomores in Spokane County reported using a vaping device in the past 30 days. This is over twice the rate of sophomores who reported smoking a cigarette in the past 30 days in the same year.3 Preventing youth from becoming addicted to nicotineis critical as youth are vulnerable to nicotine addiction and emerging research indicates that the use of vaping devices by youth may ultimately lead them to smoke cigarettes.4 Nicotine use during adolescence, a critical window for brain development, causes addiction, is more likely to lead to sustained tobacco use, and might have lasting adverse consequences for brain development.5
Poisoning Risk: The e-juice used in vaping devices typically contains nicotine. Only a few drops of nicotine can cause poisoning. Nicotine poisonings have occurred due to ingestion, absorption through the skin and inhalation.6 Ingesting as little as 1 tablespoon of liquid nicotine could be enough to kill a small child. The liquid solution used in vaping devices is unregulated. There are no labeling requirements concerning any nicotine content and there are no packaging requirements to protect children from opening containers of the product. The liquid solution is often sold in bright and colorful packaging and is available in many flavors that appeal to children. All liquid nicotine products should be stored out of reach of children. If you suspect a child has been exposed to liquid nicotine, call the Washington Poison Control Center at  1-800-222-1222 or seek medical help.
Use of Vaping Devices While Pregnant: There is no safe level of nicotine for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Similar to using traditional cigarettes, the use of nicotine-delivering vaping devices while pregnant or breastfeeding can cause health problems for developing babies and infants. Babies exposed to nicotine can have problems with feeding, and may have delayed mental and physical development. Nicotine can harm brain development, or cause impaired learning, attention deficit, and memory loss in infants and children.7
Vaping Devices and Smoking Cessation
Vaping devices are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as smoking cessation devices and may not help people quit using tobacco. The best way to quit smoking is to use a combination of nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, or medication) and counseling. For free assistance, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, see the Department of Health's help to quit tobacco  or see our list of tobacco cessation resources.


The Spokane Regional Health District has a Youth Marijuana Prevention and Education Program. Addtional resources for parents and youth can be found below. For more information about this program, contact Paige McGowan at pmcgowan@srhd.org or 509.324.1504.  

Heath Impacts

Oct 2015 - Health Advisory to Area School Personnel Warning of Risks to Youth Who Vape
Oct 2015 - Health Advisory One-Page
Oct 2015 - News Release concerning the Health Advisory



Anatomy of a Vaping Device (PDF)
Washington Poision Center
Washington State Department of Health electronic cigarette information
Nicotine Poisioning Factsheet (PDF)
Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems: Key Facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF)

Marijuana Facts for Parents (PDF)
Marijuana Facts for Youth (PDF)
Marijuana Edibles Fact Sheet (PDF)
Marijuana and Tobacco Fact Sheet (PDF)
Marijuana Spice and K2 Fact Sheet (PDF)
Marijuana, Reproduction and Pregnancy (PDF)
Marijuana: Substance Free for My Baby (PDF)
Weed to Know: Help Prevent Underage Marijuana Use
SRHD News Release: Potential Intoxication from Edible Marijuana (PDF)


Vapor Devices Infographic Poster 11x17 (PDF)
E-Cigarettes and Vaping: Tips for Parents (PDF)
Vapor Infographic (PDF)



1 http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/23/2/133.short
2 http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/stateandcommunity/pdfs/ends-key-facts2015.pdf
3 http://www.askhys.net/
4 http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2428937
5 http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/50th-anniversary/index.htm
6 http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0403-e-cigarette-poison.html
7 http://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/Tobacco/OtherTobaccoProducts/ECigarettes




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August 18, 2017