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E-cigarettes: An Emerging Public Health Challenge

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 1pm EST.

Photo of an E-cigaretteElectronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are an emerging challenge for public health. These devices are part of a growing landscape of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) that includes many different types of products, such as vape pens and e-hookahs. Despite differences in appearance, these devices are quite similar in function – they create an aerosol that can contain nicotine and other additives. Because the nicotine in these products is typically derived from tobacco, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. However, these proposals have not yet been implemented, and electronic cigarettes remain unregulated at the federal level.

The potential long-term benefits and risks associated with e-cigarette use are not currently known. What is known is that nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote nicotine addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use – making any use of these products among U.S. youth a major concern. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, in 2011, 1 in 20 high school students reported ever using e-cigarettes and 1 in 50 high school students reported using an e-cigarette in past 30 days. Since 2011, use of e-cigarettes among U.S. middle and high school students has increased at an alarming rate. In the 2014 survey, over 1 in 4 U.S. high school students reported ever using e-cigarettes, and more than 1 in 8 had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days. Given these rapid increases in use, implementing proven strategies that reduce the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, may prevent further harm among youth in the United States.

In this session of Grand Rounds, presenters explore the public health challenge of electronic cigarettes, including the surveillance and research gaps that must be addressed to assess the impact of e-cigarettes on the health of our nation.


Dr. Phoebe Thorpe and Dr. Brian King discuss e-cigarettes and the risks they may cause to people’s health. Tune in to find out what we know about these products and the potential long-term health effects of their use among youth and across the broader population.

Presented By:  

Brian King, PhD, MPH
Deputy Director for Research Translation
Office on Smoking and Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
"Patterns of E-cigarette Use Among U.S. Adults and Youth" 

Jonathan M. Samet, MD, MS
Distinguished Professor and Flora L. Thornton Chair 
Department of Preventive Medicine
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
"Health Consequences of Electronic Cigarettes"

John Wiesman, DrPH, MPH
Secretary of Health 
Washington State Department of Health
"E-cigarettes in Washington State: On the Front Lines"

Matthew L. Myers 
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
"Attaining a Tobacco-Free Generation and the Emergence of E-cigarettes"

Facilitated By:

John Iskander, MD, MPH, Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH, Deputy Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Susan Laird, MSN, RN, Communications Director, Public Health Grand Rounds

Continuing Education

This session is available for Continuing Education. Click here for more information.

  • Page last reviewed: October 7, 2015
  • Page last updated: October 7, 2015
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