skip to Main Content

Vaping Has Changed

Vaping was internationally patented and first introduced to the United States in 2007 as an alternative to traditional cigarettes. Over the last decade, vaping has evolved to a mainstream habit that is very common in popular culture, especially among teens who had previously reduced traditional cigarette use. In recent years, we have seen drastic changes in marketing the device’s look or design, and in government legislation. For the basic information on the topic of vaping you can read more here, otherwise, read on to discover what has changed in this popular trend.


Prior to 2016, early vaping related advertisement displayed messages that vaping had a lower risk of tobacco-related disease and it was less harmful than other types of tobacco products. In 2018, new legislation passed stating that advisements containing e-cigarettes or other products must contain a warning that states: WARNING: This product contains nicotine. Nicotine is an addictive chemical. This applies to all forms of advertisement with a “visual component” including print, television, and in social media.


Vaping devices have changed in the last decade and continue to evolve. Here are some descriptions and pictures of how these devices have changed:

First Generation Devices/Cigalike: Devices were often similar in size and shape to traditional cigarettes, usually disposable, with a single power setting. Many had an electric light at the end that mimicked a lit cigarette.

Second Generation Devices/Vape Pens: Devices are shaped more like pens and are often referred to as tank systems which hold larger amounts of e-liquid than previous models. A variety of flavors were added to the e-juice or liquid nicotine. They also have a longer lasting battery and larger capacity than earlier models.

Third Generation/Mods: Many of these devices are square or rectangular and feature customizable atomizers (the part that heats and vaporizes e-liquid) and batteries. Users can modify the devices or build their own hence the name “Mods”. Users can control power and airflow settings, they are refillable, and highly customizable.

Fourth Generation/Pods: Currently, these devices are the most popular and are smaller and easier to conceal. Pod devices are usually a closed system with a spot to insert a pre-filled cartridge, but some are open systems, where e-liquid can be refilled. These products have made vaping devices more concealable and harder to detect, especially with teen users.


Regulation and purchasing of e-cigarettes and vaping devices has changed dramatically in the last several years. In 2015, the Child Nicotine Poison Prevention Act required that all liquid nicotine containers be sold in child-resistant packaging. While this has reduced the number of young children accidentally getting into liquid nicotine products, poison centers across the country still see a lot of exposures to the e-liquid.

In 2016, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act gave increased authority to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate the manufacturing, distribution, and marking of all forms of tobacco and tobacco related products including vaping. As a result, the FDA has made the following changes:

  • Photo ID is required for those purchasing under 27 years old
  • Banned free samples and vending machine sales
  • Warning statement on packaging
  • Banned sales under 21 years old
  • Increase restrictions on vape shops that mix or modify e-juice or devices
  • Ban on most fruit and mint flavored e-liquids


When vaping was first introduced, most of the e-liquid was nicotine based. Today we are seeing a variety of vaping substances including some that contain THC (the chemical in marijuana that produces the high), methamphetamine and even caffeine and alcohol. These substances are not regulated, and the short-term and long-term health risks are not known.


When vaping was first introduced, the science was limited and information about the health dangers and risks of e-cigarettes was unknown. It is now known that e-cigarettes are not safe for teen and tween users, pregnant women and adults who do not currently use tobacco products. Just because they may be considered “less harmful” than traditional cigarettes does not mean they are safe. Additional risks are possible, including the risk of serious lung disease and addiction. Medical science continues to evolve to provide users with the most reliable information on the risks and concerns associated with vaping.

What hasn’t changed is that the Missouri Poison Center has been a trusted source of information for nearly 62 years. Call the Poison Help line to receive free, fast, and confidential poison information by calling one of our specially trained nurses and pharmacists at: 1-800-222-1222.

Call Now