Vapes and E-Cigs

cdc-outbreak.jpgE-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, vapes, vape pens, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), are experiencing rapid growth in popularity, especially among teens and young adults. They come in a variety of forms, sometimes looking like USB flash drives, pens, and other items that make them hard for parents and teachers to spot.

Vape-Related Pulmonary Illnesses

As of September 23, 2020, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has 17 cases of lung disease associated with e-cigarette product use, or vaping. 

ADPH is joining other state health departments in requesting health care providers to report any cases of suspected serious respiratory illness they treat among patients who use electronic cigarettes or other vaping devices.

FDA Policy on E-Cigarette Flavors 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a policy on January 2, 2020, prioritizing enforcement against flavored e-cigarette products that appeal to kids, including fruit and mint flavors. Under this policy, companies that do not stop manufacturing, distributing and selling unauthorized flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes (other than tobacco or menthol) within 30 days risk FDA enforcement actions.

The FDA intends to prioritize enforcement on the following groups of products:

  • Any flavored, cartridge-based electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) product (other than a tobacco- or menthol-flavored ENDS product);
  • All other ENDS products for which the manufacturer has failed to take (or is failing to take) adequate measures to prevent minors' access; and
  • Any ENDS product that is targeted to minors or likely to promote the use of ENDS by minors.

Read more about the new FDA policy.

New Alabama Vape Laws

Changes in Alabama's vape laws as reflected in Act #2019-233 went into effect on August 1, 2019. The act introduces major changes for retailers who advertise and/or sell alternative nicotine products, including vape devices and liquids, in the state of Alabama. These changes are geared toward limiting marketing that targets minors, as well as limiting minors' access to alternative nicotine products.

Major changes include:

  • The sale of alternative nicotine products to anyone under the age of 19 is prohibited.
  • The Alcohol Beverage Control Board is responsible for the regulation of e-cigarettes and vape products.
  • Advertising cannot categorize alternative nicotine products as healthy options to replace smoking.
  • Billboards advertising vaping liquid are limited to the advertisement of three flavors: tobacco, mint, or menthol.
  • Vape shops are required to have a tobacco permit.
  • Opening vape shops within 1,000 feet of a school, church, youth center, daycare center, or public library, playground or park is prohibited.

Full text of Act #2019-233 is available online.

Juul Ad


JUUL Labs is the manufacturer of a line of e-cigarettes called JUUL. JUUL e-cigarettes are shaped like USB flash drives. These devices create a vapor by heating up cartridges or pods containing oils that come in a variety of flavors such as mint, mango, creme brulee, and more. In addition to flavored oils, each JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes, or the equivalent of 200 cigarette puffs.

According to a recent study published in Tobacco Control, teens are 16 times more likely to use JUUL devices than older age groups.

The following resources contain more information on JUUL and similar e-cigarettes.

Health Effects of Vapes and E-Cigs

Because e-cigarettes are still fairly new, scientists are still learning about the long-term health effects of their use. It is known that most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, toxic to developing fetuses, and can harm adolescent brain development. Other potential dangers include the ingestion of cancer-causing chemicals and heavy metals such as tin and lead.

The following resources contain more information on the health effects of vapes and e-cigarettes:

FDA Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan

FDA's Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan is a series of actions to stop youth use of tobacco products, especially e-cigarettes, with special focus on three key areas:

  • Preventing youth access to tobacco products
  • Curbing marketing of tobacco products aimed at youth; and
  • Educating teens about the dangers of using any tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, as well as educating retailers about their key role in protecting youth

For more information, visit the FDA Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan.

Alabama Tobacco Quitline

The Alabama Tobacco Quitline is a free telephone and online coaching service for any Alabamian who is ready to quit tobacco or e-cigarette use. Contact the Quitline for more information.

American Lung Association E-Cigarette Resources

Page last updated: September 23, 2020