Common Drug Names: traditional tobacco: smokes, square, cigs, ciggies, stogies, loosey, darts; vaping: e-cig, vape, cloud chasing, cold boxing

Closeup Of Woman Smoking Electronic Cigarette Outdoor

Traditional tobacco is a plant grown for its leaves, which are dried and fermented before being put in tobacco products. Tobacco contains nicotine, an ingredient that can lead to addiction, which is why so many people who use tobacco find it difficult to quit. There are also many other potentially harmful chemicals found in tobacco or created by burning it.

Vaping and electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, e-vaporizers, or electronic nicotine delivery systems, are battery-operated devices that people use to inhale an aerosol which typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. They can resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes (cig-a-likes), cigars, pipes, or even everyday items like pens or USB memory sticks. Other devices, such as those with fillable tanks, may look different. Regardless of their design and appearance, these devices generally operate in a similar manner and are made of similar components.

Nicotine in all forms, including traditional tobacco and e-cigarettes, is addictive. Studies suggest it may prime the brain for further addiction.

Traditional tobacco use increases a user's risk of developing several health conditions including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer including:
    • Bladder
    • Blood (acute myeloid leukemia)
    • Cervix
    • Colon and rectum (colorectal)
    • Esophagus
    • Kidney and ureter
    • Larynx
    • Liver
    • Lung
    • Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
    • Pancreas
    • Stomach
    • Trachea, bronchus, and lung

If nobody smoked, one of every three cancer deaths in the United States would not happen.

Vaping and e-cigarette use exposes the lungs to a variety of chemicals, including those added to e-liquids, and other chemicals produced during the heating/vaporizing process. A study of some e-cigarette products found the vapor contains known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, as well as potentially toxic metal nanoparticles from the device itself.

Due to a lack of scientific evidence, the health impacts of e-cigarettes is not fully known. Studies have shown the following:

  • Tooth decay at a greater rate than traditional tobacco
  • Lung disease that affects where the gas exchange happens in the lungs
  • Popcorn lung
  • Acute lung disease with similar symptoms to pneumonia

Nicotine withdrawal is different for every smoker. The most common symptoms include:

  • Having cravings for nicotine
  • Feeling down or sad
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Feeling irritable‚ on edge‚ or grouchy
  • Having trouble thinking clearly and concentrating
  • Feeling restless and jumpy
  • Having a slower heart rate
  • Feeling more hungry or gaining weight

Vapes and e-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved quit aid, and there is no conclusive scientific evidence on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes for long-term smoking cessation.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy: there are seven FDA-approved quit aids that are proven safe and can be effective when used as directed.

SAMHSA's National Helpline - 1-800-662-HELP (4357) 
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

SAMHSA's Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator

Help for Teens
My Life, My Quit™ is the free and confidential way to quit smoking or vaping. Text "Start My Quit" to 36072 or click to chat with a Coach.

Quit Partner: 1-800-QUIT-NOW
Quit Partner is Minnesota’s free way to quit nicotine, including smoking, vaping and chewing.

For Providers: Minnesota Alliance of Rural Addiction Treatment Programs


Traditional tobacco: although it may be less popular with youth, smoking traditional tobacco causes more deaths each year than the following causes combined:

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Illegal drug use
  • Alcohol use
  • Motor vehicle injuries
  • Firearm-related incidents

Vapes and e-cigarettes are popular among teens and are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States. Their easy availability, alluring advertisements, various e-liquid flavors, and the belief that they’re safer than cigarettes have helped make them appealing to this age group.