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  • E-cigarettes are devices that heat liquid into aerosol (mist). When people use e-cigarettes (also called vaping), they inhale this aerosol.
Image of different types of e-cigarettes. Text reads: Not all e-cigarettes look the same.
  • E-cigarette liquids (e-liquids) do not contain tobacco, but almost always contain flavorings and nicotine, which is addictive.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not closely monitor or test e-cigarette ingredients, so chemicals in e-liquids can differ greatly.
  • In New York City it is illegal to use e-cigarettes wherever smoking is not allowed, including at City parks and beaches.

E-cigarettes and Youth

  • The popularity of e-cigarettes among youth is alarming. E-cigarette companies often market and appeal to youth by using candy and fruit flavors.
  • Youth who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try cigarettes later.
  • E-cigarettes almost always contain nicotine, which can negatively affect a teenager’s memory and concentration, and may decrease learning ability.
  • If you are a parent, talk to your children about the risks of using e-cigarettes. Encourage an open, ongoing conversation.
Pod of e-liquid equal to pack of cigarettes
Pod of e-liquid equal to pack of cigarettes

One pod (or refill) of e-liquid can contain as much nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes. E-cigarettes can also be used with cannabis.

Health Risks

Aerosol cloud with chemical names
  • We do not know the long-term effects of using e-cigarettes, but the aerosol from heated e-liquids can contain harmful chemicals, such as:
    • Formaldehyde and benzene, which can cause cancer
    • Diacetyl from flavoring, which is linked to lung disease
    • Heavy metals, such as nickel, tin and lead
  • Other people nearby can breathe in these chemicals in the air.
  • Defective e-cigarette batteries can cause fires and explosions, which have led to serious injuries and even death.

Quit Smoking

  • No vaping symbol
    E-cigarettes are not approved by the FDA to help people quit smoking.
  • Pack of nicotine gum
    If you smoke cigarettes and want to quit, the Health Department recommends using FDA-approved medications, which can double your chances of success.
  • Checklist with checkmarks
    Most health insurance plans, including Medicaid, cover treatment to help you quit smoking.
  • Computer icon
    Find medications, tips and resources for quitting smoking, as well as resources to help cope with nicotine withdrawal.