UT University Health Services

Vaping (E-cigarettes)

ALERT: Lung Injury/Disease Among E-cigarette Users
On 9/16/19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its Emergency Operations Center in response to the current investigation into lung injuries and deaths associated with e-cigarette/vaping use.

E-cigarette users in this investigation reported symptoms such as the following, which developed over a few days to a few weeks:

  • cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain

Recent e-cigarette/vaping product users who have similar symptoms should see a healthcare provider promptly.
For updated statistics related to the outbreak, demographics and commonalities among those affected, what public health officials know and don’t know, and specific vaping recommendations, click here.
For Texas-specific statistics updated every Tuesday, click here.

What is vaping?

Vaping is an alternative way of getting the effects of smoking tobacco or marijuana. Devices used for vaping are often referred to as e-cigarettes, vapes, or vape pens. They function by heating a chemical (“vape juice”), most commonly containing nicotine or THC, to create an aerosol that is then inhaled. This chemical sometimes has added flavors, similar to Hookah. These devices come in many forms; some look like USB drives, others like pens, and others like various everyday items.

Facts about vaping

  • While e-cigarettes do contain fewer harmful chemicals than smoke from burned tobacco products, they are still harmful to the body.
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for 18 to 22-year-old young adults, particularly if they are not already using other tobacco or marijuana products.
  • A majority of young adults who use e-cigarettes report using flavored vape juice.
  • There is some evidence that e-cigarette use by young adults can lead to cigarette use.
  • Long-term research is needed to understand fully the effects and risks of vaping.

Risks/Health Implications

  • Lung injuries causing symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain - at times associated with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever, or abdominal pain.
  • Nicotine is highly addictive and can negatively affect brain development, which continues through the mid-twenties.
  • The liquid used in e-cigarettes contains many other harmful substances besides nicotine or THC and often has a higher concentration of nicotine than cigarettes.
  • Chemicals found in e-cigarettes are known to contribute to the development of lung disease and cancer.

Vaping at UT

  • UT is a tobacco-free campus. The use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes/vaping of any form, is prohibited on campus property. The Tobacco-free Campus policy is part of the university's commitment to creating a healthy environment for members of the UT community.

Tobacco Cessation

  • E-cigarettes are not an FDA-approved method for quitting smoking, and scientists have much to learn about whether they are effective in helping smokers quit.
  • There are other effective methods for quitting smoking. Those interested in quitting smoking or vaping can visit Resources to Help You Quit Smoking and Tobacco to learn more.

Helpful Links

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Electronic Cigarettes Info Page
Texas Department of State Health Services Lung Disease Among E-cigarette Users Page
Tobacco-free Campus Policy
Smoking, Tobacco, and Nicotine
Resources to Help You Quit Smoking and Tobacco
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