Speaking with young patients about e-cigarette, vaping use

In Community Health, Feature by admin

The Sedgwick County Health Department recommends medical providers speak with all youth patients about e-cigarette or vaping use, not just the youth who providers think could be vaping. Additionally, providers should specifically ask about vaping or e-cigarettes, as many youth do not consider vaping to be smoking.

The Health Department recommends that when you talk to your young patients about e-cigarette use, focus on three main areas:

  • Vapes introduce poisons into your body. Vapes are not just water vapor. Vapes contain many different chemicals, including formaldehyde. Heavy metals, including nickel, tin and aluminum, are also found in vaping liquid.
  • JUUL and other e-cigarette brands have deceived you. E-cigarettes are not a safe alternative. The liquids in e-cigarettes can contain high enough levels of nicotine to cause nicotine poisoning. One JUUL pod contains enough nicotine to equal one pack of cigarettes.
  • Vapes are addictive. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical. It can change your brain development and affect your memory and concentration.

Medical providers who suspect a patient has a lung injury associated with the use of e-cigarette or vaping products should contact the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Epidemiology Hotline at (877) 427-7317.

More than 2,000 cases and 40 deaths related to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In Kansas, more than 20 cases have been reported with two deaths. Nationally, the median age for cases is 24 years old, with a majority of the cases less than 24 years old. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products continue to be the most commonly reported e-cigarettes, or vaping, products used by EVALI patients. Vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC-containing vaping products, is a chemical of concern among people diagnosed with EVALI.

In 2018, the CDC estimated that one in four high school students and one in 14 middle school students had used a tobacco product in the past month. The CDC also estimated there were 1.5 million more current youth e-cigarette users in 2018 than in 2017, reaching a total of 4.9 million youth users.

If you would like to receive weekly updates about EVALI, infectious diseases, and other health-related topics, e-mail

DiseaseReport@sedgwick.gov to receive the Sedgwick County Health Department’s EpiLink publication for health professionals.

The Health Department is collecting and creating information about vaping for health professionals in Sedgwick County. If you are interested in receiving vaping resources, please respond to this quick survey by Jan. 31: tinyurl.com/SCvaping.