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  • Vaping and E-Cigarettes

    Youth Vapor Product Prevention.

    Think before you vape!

    When the mist clears, the facts are alarming. When e-cigarette products first became popular, we didn’t have much information about health risks. But mounting evidence suggests vaping is bad for your health.

    The U.S. Surgeon General declared vaping an epidemic among our youth in 2018.

    Fewer Pierce County youth are smoking cigarettes in recent years, but more are vaping.

    In 2018, 8% of Pierce County 12th graders said they had smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days. But almost 30% said they had vaped—up from 18% in 2016.

    Vaping increased among all age groups in 2018. Among Pierce County 10th graders:

    • Almost 1 in 4 (23%) said they used a vapor product in the last 30 days.
    • 56% who vape said they do so with nicotine.
    • 22% who vape said they use THC (cannabis) in their vapor products.

    Serious health risks

    Vapor products contain a variety of questionable substances.

    Vapes contain nicotine and other substances like THC that negatively affect brain development in youth. Nicotine is also highly addictive and can lead to smoking later in life.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test products for content or safety. Vapes contain dangerous chemicals like:

    • Formaldehyde.
    • Benzene.
    • Nickel.
    • Lead.
    • Propylene glycol.

    Cases of severe lung illnesses

    In 2019, the U.S. experienced cases of E-cigarette or vaping product, use associated lung injury (EVALI) related to e-cigarette use or vaping. In most cases, the patients were adolescents and young adults. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received reports of 2,807 cases of severe lung illness and 68 people died. Case data shows links to:

    • The majority of cases involved the use of THC.
    • Vitamin E acetate—a thickening agent used in THC-containing vaping products. Vitamin E acetate is usually harmless when ingested. Research suggests it may interfere with normal lung function when inhaled.
    • E-cigarette or vapor products with THC from informal sources. Like friends, family, or in-person or online dealers.

    CDC recommends you not use e-cigarettes or vapor products, especially those with THC.

    Vaping can damage your lungs and put you at higher risk of respiratory infections, including COVID-19.

    Helpful materials


    For teens

    For educating youth

    Do you smoke or vape?

    Do you smoke or vape? You may be at higher risk of a severe COVID-19 infection. Quit smoking or vaping to reduce your risk.

    Available in multiple languages:

    Laws and Regulations

    Pierce County

    Our Board of Health is a leader in protecting people from the dangers of e-cigarettes and vapor products.

    • 2011—Established a minimum age for purchase and set rules on where these products could be sold.  
    • 2016—Required vape businesses to have permits, inspections, ventilation, and other measures to protect people’s health.


    Our early efforts played a role in state vaping laws. 

    • 2016—Vaping in Public Places law regulates all vapor products and adds restrictions to eliminate youth access.
    • 2020—Raised the age to buy tobacco, nicotine and vapor products to 21 to protect youth from health risks.

    We continue to work with local and state partners to address the vaping epidemic. Learn more about the laws and regulations.


    Contact Jessica Alvestad at (253) 649-1646.

    Contact Linda Graves at (253) 649-1644.

    Contact Cenora Akhidenor at (253) 649-1643.


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