Vaping and e-cigarettes

No matter what you call them – JUULs, e-cigs, vape pens, or electronic delivery systems – the evidence shows that vapor products aren’t healthy.

  • Vapor products contain harmful substances. Nicotine and marijuana are addictive, and both can harm a developing brain. The healthiest choice for anyone is to not vape.
  • The Washington State Department of Health is working with local health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate cases of a multi-state outbreak of lung injuries that are associated with vaping. Get the latest on the Washington state investigation.
  • As of October 10, 2019, all flavored vape products are banned in Washington State. Learn more about the new rules from the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
  • The law for purchasing tobacco and vapor products is changing. In January 2020, the minimum age to buy tobacco, nicotine, and vapor products will be raised to 21.
  • Need help quitting? Check out these cessation resources.

Contact Us

  1. Substance Use Disorder Program Office
    360-676-6002

    Joe Fuller, CPP, ICPS
    Program Specialist
    360-778-6045

    Rebecca Snearly
    Program Specialist
    360-778-6115

    Alyssa Pavitt
    Regional Marijuana Prevention Program
    360-778-6061


    509 Girard Street
    Lower Level
    Bellingham, WA 98225
    Fax: 360-778-6004

Health Risks of Vaping

E-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive chemical that is known to affect brain development in youth. Vapor products also contain other dangerous chemicals such as:

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

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with state and local health departments to investigate cases of vaping-associated lung injuries throughout the United States. Patients in the investigation have reported symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Most patients have severe symptoms and have been hospitalized for treatment. Several people have died as a result of their illness.

The exact cause of these illnesses isn’t yet known. No specific product, device, or substance has been identified as a cause. Most patients report that they used vapor products that contain THC. Many patients report that they used THC and nicotine. Some people have used vapor products that only contain nicotine. People who’ve gotten sick have used vapor products from licensed retailers as well as products sold on the street.

If you use e-cigarettes or vapor products, monitor yourself for symptoms like cough, chest pain, or shortness of breath. See your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your health. If you’re ready to quit vaping, find cessation help that actually works.

Increase in Youth Vaping

The use of vapor products has been on this rise among teens.

  • In 2018, 27% of Whatcom County 10th graders reported using e-cigarettes or other vapor products. That’s more than double the number in 2016, when it was just 12% of 10th graders who said they used these products.
  • Only about 1 out of 3 teens think vaping is a health risk, but 3 out of 4 say using cigarettes is risky. That’s despite the fact that most teens who use vape products (71%) say they vape products with nicotine, the same addictive chemical in cigarettes.

Why is this a problem? Nicotine can lead to a lifetime of addiction, especially when you start young. Over 90% of smokers today started before they turned 18. And a person’s brain keeps developing well into their 20s. Both nicotine and marijuana can harm brain development.

Ban on Flavored Vape Products

In September 2019, Governor Inslee signed an executive order calling for actions to regulate and monitor vaping products in Washington state. In October 2019 the Washington State Board of Health approved emergency rules that:

  • Ban flavored vapor products.
  • Require businesses that sell vapor products to display warning signs that explain the health risks associated with using them.

Vapor products with flavors – like bubble gum, gummy bear, and mango – appeal to youth. The ban on flavored products will make vaping less attractive to youth and reduce their risk for lung injury and nicotine addiction.

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) is responsible to make sure that retailers comply with the emergency rules on signage and the ban on flavored products. Learn more about the rules from the LCB.

Tobacco/Vape 21

In 2019, the Washington State legislature voted to approve Washington’s Tobacco and Vapor 21 law. The law makes it illegal to sell tobacco and vapor products to anyone under 21. It goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

Raising the minimum age for sale of tobacco and vapor products will help reduce the chances of youth developing lifelong nicotine addiction.

  • A March 2015 report by the Institute of Medicine concluded that raising the minimum age to 21 would:
    • Prevent or delay tobacco and vape product use by 25%.
    • Reduce the number of people who use tobacco or vapor products by 12%.
    • Reduce deaths due to smoking by 11%.
  • Most teens get nicotine products from people in their social networks who are 18-20 years old and can legally buy them. Making it illegal to sell these products to people under 21 helps cut off those social sources for younger teens.

Get Help to Quit

It’s never too late to quit smoking or vaping. Find proven tools to help you kick the habit.

Quitting Tobacco or Vaping

When you quit using tobacco or vapor products, you’ll improve your health and reduce your risk of diseases like heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. E-cigarettes aren’t scientifically proven to help you quit, but these resources will help you find solid ways to quit.

  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or go to quitnow.net to get 1-on-1 help with a quit plan. You’ll get connected to tested strategies like counseling or medication.
  • Try these apps to help you quit vaping or smoking. Or try these other self-help materials that are available online or on your phone.
  • Find other smoking cessation resources.

Quitting Marijuana

The Washington Recovery Help Line is your 24-hour source for help with quitting marijuana or other substances.