For Health Professionals
E-cigarettes and Vaping: Resources for Health Professionals
E-cigarette aerosol contains nicotine and other harmful chemicals.
Nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm the developing adolescent brain. Because the brain is still developing until about age 25, youth and young adult exposure to nicotine can lead to addiction and disrupt attention and learning. No amount of nicotine is safe for youth.
Similar to secondhand smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products, aerosol from e-cigarettes (often called vapor) contains harmful and potentially harmful constituents, such as ultrafine particles, heavy metals like nickel, tin, and lead, and other cancer-causing chemicals.
Exposure may increase risk of breathing problems.
Exposure to e-cigarette aerosol may be a trigger for both kids and adults with breathing problems, such as asthma, increasing their risk of severe asthma attacks. In Minnesota, kids with asthma who are exposed to e-cigarette aerosol are more likely to report symptoms than those not exposed, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Vaping-Associated Lung Injuries
The Iowa Department of Health is working with local public health and health care providers to investigate reports of severe lung injury potentially related to vaping and e-cigarette use among teens and adults. With similar reports coming from other states in recent weeks, IDPH is partnering with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine a cause and what steps may be taken to prevent additional illness. To date more than 2000 cases have been reported from multiple states. Many of the patients report having vaped illicit THC (a component of cannabis). Health care providers should ask patients with respiratory illness about the use of vaping and e-cigarette products. Health care providers are asked to report severe respiratory illness in patients with a history of vaping or e-cigarette use to the Iowa Department of Public Health (1-800-362-2736). Learn more about this topic here.
E-cigarettes are not proven to help people quit smoking.
E-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved smoking quitting aid, and they are not proven to help people quit. Free counseling is available to all people living in Iowa by visiting QUITLINEIOWA.org or by calling 1-800-QUITNOW
Learn more about Helping People Quit Tobacco Use.
Health care professionals have a role in preventing youth e-cigarette use.
Talk to your young patients about the risks of vaping and tobacco use, provide education about the harms to their respiratory health and risk for addiction. Screen all patients, including parents, for use of any tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vapes. Encourage patients to quit, and refer adults to QUITLINE IOWA and youth to My Life My Quit for help quitting.