E-cigarettes contain and emit potentially harmful chemicals. However, they typically do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, and their liquid includes fewer of the thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke. Despite this, they do still contain nicotine. It is a big concern because of its role in the brain’s rapid development during adolescence.


The vaping device heats the liquid to make an aerosol that is inhaled. The liquid is usually nicotine but can contain other chemicals, including flavorings. It can also have a solvent to help the e-liquid vaporize. It can cause problems such as damage to the lungs. It can also contain a carcinogen, formaldehyde. It can form if the liquid overheats or the device is not heated correctly (a dry puff). The vapor can also carry other harmful substances, such as acrylonitrile, propylene oxide and acrolein. These can lead to a lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.

Another problem is that the e-cigarette batteries can explode or catch fire. It can hurt the person doing the vaping and others in the area. While it is generally thought e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes, the long-term effects of these new inhalable compounds are yet to be determined. Studies have already shown that e-cigarette use can provoke short-term harmful effects on health, such as increased platelet activation and a cytokine storm in the lungs. E-liquids can contain thousands of chemicals, many of which have yet to be tested for safety. The concern is that it is difficult for consumers to know what they are buying, as many of these chemicals are hidden in the flavorings. Flavorings may include a chemical called diacetyl linked to severe lung disease, bronchiolitis obliterans.


Nicotine is an addictive chemical that changes your brain’s natural reward system and makes quitting smoking hard. It also affects your heart rate and blood pressure. So does e cigarettes cause cancer? It’s critical to be aware that several cancer-causing substances are included in the aerosol (“vapor”) from e-cigarettes. Using e-cigarettes or vaping exposes you to nicotine, which can have immediate and long-term health risks. Even e-cigarettes that claim to be nicotine free have small amounts of nicotine. Electronic nicotine delivery systems, often known as ENDS, such as e-cigarettes and vaporizers, use heat to create vapor inhaled as an aerosol. E-cigarettes are available in different sizes, shapes and styles. Some look like regular cigarettes, while others resemble everyday items such as pens, USB drives or highlighting markers. The vapor e-cigarettes contain nicotine, volatile organic compounds, carcinogens, heavy metals, and flavoring chemicals linked to serious lung disease. In addition, the batteries in e-cigarettes can explode, causing injuries and property damage. The vapor also can irritate your lungs and throat.

The use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers by youth is a growing concern because nicotine is harmful to developing fetuses and can harm adolescent and young adult brain development, which continues through the early to mid-20s. In addition, nicotine can cause negative outcomes in pregnancy and is known to increase the likelihood of smoking traditional cigarettes as an adult. It is also associated with poor oral and pulmonary health and respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Moreover, studies indicate that daily e-cigarette use is related to worsening cardiovascular risk factors, including endothelial dysfunction, oxidative stress and arterial stiffness.

Chemicals in E-Liquid

Although e-cigarettes do not give off smoke, they release secondhand aerosol or “vapor” that may contain harmful chemicals. Scientists are still learning about these chemicals and how they affect health. E-cigarette vapor can trigger coughing, congestion, and shortness of breath and damage the lungs. It can also cause eye irritation and injure the nose, throat and mouth lining. Secondhand e-cigarette vapor can also increase the risk of nicotine addiction in children and young people, and it increases the chances of starting to use regular cigarettes.

For this reason, smoke-free and tobacco-free policies in schools, workplaces and healthcare institutions should also include e-cigarettes. The e-liquid (or vaping liquid) in e-cigarettes contains nicotine and other chemicals, such as glycerol (vegetable glycerin), propylene glycol (1,2-propanediol) and flavoring. These ingredients are used in cosmetics and foods, but their long-term effects on the lungs remain unknown. One study found that inhaling glycerol at high concentrations for 24 hours led to cell damage similar to what is observed with cigarette smoke. There are concerns that e-liquids may be contaminated with impurities such as vitamin E acetate, which is not allowed in regulated products because of the potential harm it can pose to lung cells. The recent outbreak of vaping-related lung injury has shown that there is no way to know what is in a particular product.

Secondhand E-Liquid Emissions

E-cigarettes (also called vaporizers) are battery-powered devices that heat liquid into an aerosol the user inhales. The liquid in e-cigarettes contains:

  • Nicotine is an addictive substance found in cigars and conventional cigarettes.
  • Flavorings.
  • Other chemicals help produce the aerosol.

E-cigarettes also contain chemicals released, including volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. E-cigarette emissions can harm bystanders who breathe them secondhand, like secondhand smoke from conventional combusted tobacco products. Scientists have found that when e-cigarettes are used, the aerosol from their liquid is contaminated with chemicals such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nicotine and propylene oxide. These chemicals may be absorbed through the skin and cause respiratory irritation or disease. They can also be ingested and can damage the immune system.