Information on Vaping/Juuling

Information and resources for parents on the health risks associated with vaping.

Fairfax County Health Department Advisory

If you know of young people complaining of respiratory issues who have a history of using vaping products, please suggest they seek care with their primary medical doctor. Health care providers in Fairfax County are being instructed to report suspected cases of severe respiratory illness associated with vaping to the disease reporting unit at 703-246-2433 or email at [email protected].

What is Vaping /Juuling?

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, “Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device.” The term is used because e-cigarettes do not produce tobacco smoke, but rather an aerosol, often mistaken for water vapor, that actually consists of fine particles. Many of these particles contain varying amounts of toxic chemicals, which have been linked to cancer, as well as respiratory and heart disease.

The term vaping is commonly used in reference to the usage of nicotine by teens, but adults will often use the same terminology to reference the act of vaping marijuana. Adolescents, generally, refer to vaping marijuana as “dabbing” or other slang terminology. Both utilize electronic delivery devices to achieve a euphoric experience.

Vaping has grown in popularity with the rise of e-cigarettes, which were introduced to the mass market in the U.S. in 2007. Vaping devices include not just e-cigarettes, but also vape pens and advanced personal vaporizers (also known as ‘MODS’). E-cigarettes, which resemble smoked cigarettes, and vape pens, which resemble large fountain pens, are typically simpler in design and less expensive than devices that have been customized by the user.

Generally a vaping device consists of a mouthpiece, a battery, a cartridge for containing the e-liquid or e-juice, and a heating component for the device that is powered by a battery. When the device is used, the battery heats up the heating component, which turns the contents of the e-liquid into an aerosol that is inhaled into the lungs and then exhaled.

The e-liquid in vaporizer products usually contains a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid with nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals and metals, but not tobacco. Some people use these devices to vape THC, the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's mind-altering effects, or even synthetic drugs like flakka, instead of nicotine.

The health risks and benefits of using these relatively new devices are still being evaluated. However, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that the chemicals in these products may be dangerous. Health advocates are recommending caution in using them and calling for additional research into their potential risks versus benefits.

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Parent Resources:

Fairfax County Health Department: Helping Kids Stay Vape Free

Surgeon General Tip Sheet: Know the Risks, E-Cigarettes & Young People

Partner for Drug-Free kids: The Teen Vaping Trend – What Parents Need to Know

Stanford Medicine Tobacco Prevention Tool Kit: E Cigarettes and Vape Pens

Virginia Department of Health Recommendations Regarding Cigarettes and Vaping 

How to Talk To Your Kids About Vaping

E-Cig Parent Tip Sheet

Vape Conversation Guide

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