A crying babyPhoto by ©istock.com/brebcaIf a pregnant woman uses tobacco, her baby might be born too early or too small. This can cause health problems for the baby.

These are just some of the problems tobacco and nicotine can cause:

Lung Diseases

Vaping is new, so we don’t have enough research to know all the effects on the body, but many of the effects on the lungs will be the same as regular smoking. In fact, the government has reported thousands of lung illnesses and dozens of deaths of people who have vaped nicotine, marijuana or both. Human lungs are not designed to filter some of the oil in these products, and the exact causes of the illnesses are being studied. The government warns against using any vaping products with marijuana, or any that are made at home or on the street. You can find more information here.

Health experts have become concerned that too many teens are vaping. Studies show that young people are especially attracted to flavored vaping cartridges. So, the U.S. Congress passed a law saying you have to be 21 years old to buy vaping or other tobacco products, and it also banned the sale of most  flavored liquids such as fruit and mint. The new rules start in 2020.

Regular cigarette smoking causes lung cancer. It can also cause painful breathing diseases like emphysema. These diseases can happen to people who smoke. People who breathe in other people's smoke can also get these diseases.

Bad Breath, Bad Teeth, Mouth Cancer

Cigarettes and other kinds of tobacco stain teeth and cause bad breath. Chewing tobacco can make teeth fall out and lead to cancer of the mouth. Vaping does not leave behind the brown stains on the teeth, but we don’t yet know how it affects the mouth after years of use.

Heart and Blood Problems

If you smoke, you're more likely to have a heart attack or stroke ("brain attack").

Health Problems for Babies

If a pregnant woman smokes, her baby might be born too early or too small. This can cause health problems for the baby.

Health Problems for Teens

The teen years are important for brain growth. Your brain grows until you are about 25 years old. When you inhale smoke, the nicotine makes its way to the brain, and using nicotine products can change the way the brain grows.

Nicotine Poisoning

Nicotine poisoning often happens when young children chew nicotine gum or patches that people use to quit. Or they might swallow e-cigarette liquid that contains nicotine.

Signs of a nicotine poisoning are:

  • having trouble breathing
  • throwing up
  • fainting
  • headache
  • heart beating really fast or really slowly

If a child has any of these signs after eating or drinking nicotine, you should call 911 right away.


You can become addicted to nicotine just like other drugs—from vaping, smoking, or chewing tobacco (snuff). When you smoke, the nicotine quickly gives you a small rush of pleasure and energy. But it soon goes away. This makes you want to use the nicotine product again and again throughout the day.

Over time, nicotine can change the way your brain works. If you stop using it, your body can get confused and you can start to feel really sick. This makes it hard to stop. This is called addiction.

People who are trying to stop nicotine use might:

  • be cranky
  • have problems paying attention
  • have trouble sleeping
  • eat more
  • crave nicotine

Fortunately, there are many ways to quit smoking or using other tobacco products. Some examples are:

  • counseling
  • nicotine replacement therapy, like chewing gum and patches
  • medicines

Some people think that using e-cigarettes will help them quit smoking regular cigarettes, but there is no proof that e-cigarettes help people stop smoking. Also, studies have shown that teens who use e-cigarettes are likely to start smoking cigarettes in the future.

The phone number 1-800-QUIT-NOW will connect you with people that can help you quit.

 Here is some online information on how to stop vaping.