Vaping and e-Cigarette Health Alert

Health alerts

There are a lot of mixed messages about vaping in popular media and advertising. 

Vaping is a concern because of its growing association with severe lung injury and even death.

Some people who sustained lung injury reportedly used nicotine vapes, and others used both THC (the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis) and nicotine vapes. Therefore both nicotine-containing products and THC-containing products may contribute to lung injury. See Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for more information about this outbreak.

And a U-M study of teens showed that those who vaped cannabis were at greater risk for respiratory symptoms indicative of lung injury than those who smoked cigarettes or cannabis, or vaped nicotine.

Here's one college student's story, as reported in the New York Times:

"[Gregory] Rodriguez, 22, a college student, is one of the nearly 1,300 people in the United States who have become seriously ill because of vaping. Like him, about 70 percent are young men. And also like him, many vaped THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana… The lung damage looks like a chemical burn, the kind of injury caused by industrial accidents or the mustard gas used as a weapon in World War I, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic. So far, no vaping product is in the clear." [Denise Grady. A Young Man Nearly Lost His Life to Vaping, New York Times, 10-15-2019]

Because of these cases of lung injury, the CDC recommends that people:

  • Refrain from using e-cigarette or vaping products that contain nicotine and/or THC. 
  • Should not buy any type of e-cigarette, or vaping products, particularly those containing THC, off the street.
  • Should not modify or add any substances to e-cigarette or vaping products that are not intended by the manufacturer, including products purchased through retail establishments.

Beyond lung injury, vaping is a concern because of the increasing prevalence, especially among young people. The CDC recommends that people avoid vaping, specifically:

  • Youth and young adults should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and can harm adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s. E-cigarettes can contain other harmful substances besides nicotine.
  • Women who are pregnant should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products. Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. Also, some of the flavorings used in e-cigarettes may be harmful to a developing baby.
  • Adults who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using e-cigarette, or vaping, products.
  • THC use has been associated with a wide range of health effects, particularly with prolonged heavy use. The best way to avoid potentially harmful effects is to not use THC, including through e-cigarette or vaping products. See also Marijuana / Cannabis.

The University of Michigan offers resources to support students, as well as staff and faculty, to quit.

See Vaping, eCigarettes and Tobacco Cessation

More information:

See also the American College Health Association's Vaping webpage.

Updated 10-17-19