Vaping & Vapor Products
Vapor products, also known as e-cigarettes or vape pens, represent a market that has grown exponentially since they were first introduced in the mid-2000s. They are typically equipped with a battery, a heating device and a cartridge containing nicotine, flavorings, and solvents. The nicotine solution is heated to produce an aerosol that is inhaled or vaped. There are more than 400 different brands of e-cigarettes and more than 7,000 flavoring chemicals.
Hot Topic: Youth Use of Vapor Products
Since their introduction, teens and young adults have been drawn to the new high tech way to smoke. Youth use is increasing nationally and in Snohomish County.
While many people view vapor products as safe or harmless, this is not true. Nicotine is particularly harmful and addictive for developing brains.
Youth Use Resources
Local, State & Federal Policy
In April 2019, the Governor signed a new law that raises the legal age for purchasing tobacco or vapor products from 18 to 21. The law takes effect in January 2020. It will be illegal (a gross misdemeanor) to sell or give tobacco or vapor products to anyone under the age of 21.
In the fall of 2015 (with amendments in the spring of 2016), the Board of Health approved a Vapor Devices ordinance meant to prohibit vaping in public places. In the spring of 2016, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 6328 which allows the state to license and regulate all vapor products. In the summer of 2016, the FDA distributed a “deeming rule” allowing them to regulate the contents of e-juice as well as vapor product distribution under the tobacco control act. For more information, see:
- Liquor Control and Cannabis Board website
- Ordinance 2016-002 Amending Chapter 14 (June 28, 2016) (PDF)
- Washington State Senate Bill 6328 - Vapor Products (effective June 28, 2016) (PDF)
E-juice (the liquid inserted into the e-cigarette and heated) contains a highly concentrated form of liquid nicotine. This liquid nicotine is toxic and can lead to rashes if it comes in contact with the skin. If the e-juice is ingested, a person can become very ill with severe vomiting. If a child drinks e-juice this can lead to death. There have been several documented cases of death in small children who accidentally drank e-juice. The new WA law requires all e-juice to be in child-proof containers, but parents should still be cautious and keep their e-juice and other vapor paraphernalia out of reach of young children. For more information, view the Washington State Poison Center Annual report on e-cigarettes.
Between 2014 and 2015, there have been approximately 130 battery explosions nationwide. No one understands the exact cause or reasoning behind these explosions. For some unknown reason, some batteries explode, unfortunately leading to serious burns on the skin of the people using them. For more information, view the Seattle Times article about exploding e-cigarette batteries.