News Releases

News Releases

Great American Smokeout Observance Highlights Nicotine Addiction and the Risks of Vaping

Nov. 16, 2023

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is celebrating the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout (GASO) on Nov. 16 by amplifying education and awareness about the harms of nicotine, which is the addictive substance found in high concentrations in e-cigarettes and vaping products.   

“The Great American Smokeout is an observance that recognizes the importance of quitting the use of all commercial tobacco products, including e-cigarettes/and vaping devices,” said Virginie Daguise, PhD, director of DHEC’s Bureau of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention. “Nicotine in any form is highly addictive and harmful to physical and mental health.”  

Nicotine, which is found in nearly all e-cigarettes and vaping devices, can cause type 2 diabetes. People who vape also are at risk for heart attack and cardiovascular disease, as nicotine increases blood pressure, making damage to the heart more likely. 

The nicotine found in vaping devices is highly addictive and has a negative impact on mental health, especially among teens. Youth who vape are more likely to report increases in depression and anxiety, as well as increased difficulty focusing and concentrating. 

Addiction to nicotine is difficult to overcome. Studies show that nicotine is just as addictive as cocaine and heroin. Nicotine addiction also increases the likelihood of addiction to other substances, such as opioids.   

It's not water vapor 

The use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices produces a toxic aerosol that contains many of the same cancer-causing chemicals found in secondhand cigarette smoke. Secondhand vaping aerosol emits fine particulates that can trigger severe asthma attacks and cause cardiovascular disease. Vaping aerosol may contain: 

  • Nicotine 
  • Ultrafine particles that can enter the lungs 
  • Diacetyl, a flavoring that may cause serious lung disease 
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as benzene 
  • Heavy metals, such as nickel, lead, and tin 

Help is available to quit vaping 

Quitting vaping has immediate effects on mental and physical health. Free quit support is available 24/7 to all South Carolinians (también disponible en español) from expert coaches at the SC Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW y 1-855-DÉJELO-YA). No insurance coverage is necessary, and services are available for both adults and youth ages 13 and older. 

Adults can also receive vaping and other tobacco product quit-support services through, Quit VET, and Become an EX. Additional teen vaping quit support is available through Smokefree Teen, This is Quitting, and Quit the Hit - a social media based quit support program for teens ages 13-18.  



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