Vaping Cessation

A Person Vaping

Harris County Public Health Department Urges Residents to Not Use E-Cigarettes

Across the U.S., multiple deaths and over 1,000 possible cases of lung illness associated with the use of e-cigarettes have been confirmed by the CDC, and are under investigation. In Harris County, multiple individuals have been identified with vaping-related lung illness, as well. Therefore, HCPH recommends community members not use e-cigarette products, until the investigation is concluded. 

People who have trouble breathing, cough, chest pain, nausea, fatigue or other symptoms in the days or months after vaping should seek immediate medical attention. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, e-cigarette products are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant women, or adults who do not currently use tobacco. 

The latest on the investigation of lung illness associated with using e-cigarette products, can be found on the CDC's outbreak of lung injury page.

Harris County Public Health Vaping-Related Lung Illness Count
As of 12/4/2019, Harris County Public Health has 7 confirmed or probable individuals with vaping-related lung illness.

This number will be updated every Wednesday by 12noon, if new individuals are identified.
Latest update: 12/4/19 11:56am CST

Youth Vaping Prevention Program

The Youth Vaping Prevention Program aims to decrease and prevent vaping among students in 5th – 12th grades. The free program is available to schools, community centers, after-school programs and other youth groups.

Trained HCPH facilitators provide:

    • 45-minute education sessions detailing the dangers of vaping, how it affects the body and how the products are falsely marketed

    • Strategies on how to resist peer pressure to vape

    • Vaping cessation counseling for those who have become addicted to vaping

To enroll, call 713-274-8500 or email Mayra Aquino at

The Youth Vaping Prevention Program use the CATCH My Breath curriculum developed by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at the UTHealth School of Public Health.

What are e-cigarettes?
    • E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid.

    • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.

    • E-cigarettes may contain marijuana or other substances.

    • They are known by many different names including “e-cigs,” “vapes,” “e-hookahs,” “vape pens,” “mods,” tanks, or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).

    • Some e-cigarette devices look like cigarettes; or ordinary household items like a USB flash drives, pens, and flashlights; and others have unique shapes.

    • Use of e-cigarettes is sometimes referred to as “vaping” or “juuling.” E-cigarettes used for dabbing are sometimes called “dab” pens.

    • Because they look like a USB flash drive, it’s easy for kids to use them without an adult knowing.


Source: CDC

How do e-cigarettes Work?
    • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.

    • The liquid used in e-cigarettes often contains nicotine and flavorings. This liquid is sometimes called “e-juice,” “e-liquid,” “vape juice,” or “vape liquid.”

    • Users inhale e-cigarette aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales it into the air.

    • E-cigarette devices can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.
What are the health effects of using e-cigarettes?

Harris County Public Health Department Urges Residents to Not Use E-Cigarettes, Until the CDC Investigation Is Concluded.  

E-cigarettes are still fairly new, and scientists are still learning about their long-term health effects. What we do know is:

    • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, toxic to developing fetuses, a danger for pregnant women and their developing babies and can harm adolescent brain development.
    • E-cigarettes can also contain potentially harmful substances, including flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease; heavy metals like lead, nickel and tin; cancer-causing agents and ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.
    • E-cigarettes can cause unintended injuries.
      • Defective e-cigarette batteries have caused fires and explosions, some of which have resulted in serious injuries.
      • Most explosions happened when the e-cigarette batteries were being charged.
      • In addition, acute nicotine exposure can be toxic. Children and adults have been poisoned by swallowing, breathing, or absorbing e-cigarette liquid through their skin or eyes.

It is difficult for consumers to know what e-cigarette products contain. For example, some e-cigarettes marketed as containing zero percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.

    • According to the JUUL, a popular e-cigarette manufacturer, a single JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
Why Is Nicotine Unsafe for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults?
    • Nicotine can harm the developing adolescent brain. Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood, and impulse control.

    • Each time a new memory is created or a new skill is learned, stronger connections – or synapses – are built between brain cells. Young people’s brains build synapses faster than adult brains. Nicotine changes the way these synapses are formed.

    • Research has also shown, using nicotine in adolescence may also increase risk for future addiction to other drugs.
Can e-cigarettes help adults quit smoking cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the FDA as a quit smoking aid. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a group of health experts that makes recommendations about preventive health care, has concluded that evidence is insufficient to recommend e-cigarettes for smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant women.

Individuals who want to stop smoking should use FDA-approved products.