Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

Vapes, vaporizers, vape pens, hookah pens, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes or e-cigs), e-cigars, and e-pipes are some of the many tobacco product terms used to describe electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

Graphic showing the four generations of e-cigarettes/vapes

All ENDS use a lithium ion battery to heat an “e-liquid” that contains the addictive, tobacco-derived drug nicotine, as well as flavorings, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and other ingredients. E-liquid is contained in a refillable or disposable cartridge or plastic pod. When heated, e-liquid creates an aerosol that is inhaled. The exhaled aerosol can trigger severe asthma attacks in people who inhale the secondhand vaping aerosol.  

Learn more! CDC About E-Cigarettes (Vapes) | DHEC ENDS Fact Sheet

Vaping aerosol can contain:

  • Nicotine and ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Cancer-causing chemicals
  • Heavy metals such nickel, tin, and lead

Risks of Vaping Nicotine

Many people attempt to quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes/vapes. It is important to note that these products are not FDA-approved quitting aids (learn about FDA-approved quitting aids). While there may be a decreased risk of lung cancer for ENDS use compared to smoking cigarettes, nicotine in any form is harmful to physical and mental health. Nicotine is a dangerous and highly addictive chemical that can cause:

  • high blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • artery hardening/heart attack
  • increased feelings of anxiety and depression
  • inability to focus
  • weakened immune system
  • respiratory conditions
  • gastrointestinal disorders
  • mood swings
  • reproductive harm
  • chronic kidney disease
  • changes in brain development - especially in adolescent brains

Many e-cigarettes/vapes deliver even more nicotine than traditional cigarettes. In most cases, one pod of e-liquid contains the same amount of nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. Just 5mg of nicotine a day – the amount found in one quarter of an e-cigarette/vape pod – is all that is needed to create and sustain nicotine addiction

Youth, E-Cigarettes, & Nicotine

Youth e-cigarette use has been declared an epidemic by the US Surgeon General. In South Carolina, high school students are more likely to vape than they are to smoke. Get more data on SC youth e-cigarette use from the SC Youth Tobacco Survey.

  • E-cigarettes/vapes and other ENDS have evolved to look like a variety of everyday objects. Some still look like regular cigarettes but others look like USB sticks, candy, highlighters, pens, juice boxes, toys, lipstick, and other innocent items.
  • E-cigarettes/vapes come in a variety of candy, fruit, and dessert flavors that appeal to youth.
  • Kids are more at risk for the harmful effects of e-cigarette/vape use because the brain continues to develop until about the age of 25.
  • Exposing the adolescent brain to nicotine can disrupt attention, mood, learning, and memory.
  • Even in small doses, nicotine exposure in adolescence can cause long-lasting changes in brain development and future addiction.
  • Compared to youth who have never tried e-cigarettes/vapes, youth who have tried e-cigarettes/vapes are more likely to smoke combustible cigarettes in the future.
  • No amount of nicotine is safe for youth.

Supporting Teens

Parents/caregivers, healthcare providers, and educators can influence the decision to use ENDS, like e-cigarettes/vapes. If you use commercial tobacco products, set a good example and try to quit.

Parent Resources

Healthcare Provider Resources


Quit Vaping

For Teens

For Adults

Teenagers aren't the only ones vaping. The resources below provide quit support for all commercial tobacco products for people ages 18 and up.

*Message and data rates may apply/Se pueden aplicar tarifas por mensajes y datos

Safe Disposal of E-Cigarettes

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s How to Safely Dispose of E-Cigarettes: Information for Individuals includes important information and a printable fact sheet about proper and safe disposal of e-cigarettes. Most importantly: