What is an e-cigarette?
An electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a battery operated device that heats a liquid into a vapor, which is inhaled. The liquid usually contains nicotine and other chemicals, just like regular cigarettes and other tobacco products. E-cigarettes are made in different shapes and colors and the liquid often comes in flavors such as cola, bubblegum, fruit punch, which is especially attractive to children and young adults.
Are they a safe tool for quitting smoking?
There is no research which demonstrates that e-cigarettes are a safe and effective tool for helping people to quit smoking.
- The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) found that some e-cigarette cartridges contained known cancer-causing agents and issued a warning about health risks.
- E-cigarette products are relatively new and the long-term impact of inhaling nicotine and other chemicals or breathing second-hand "smoke" in the air from e-cigarettes is currently unknown.
- E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA and the amount of nicotine and other chemicals can vary among products.
- Some states, including Hawaiʻi, have banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors because they may lead to teens experimenting with tobacco products.
- The liquid in the cartridge can make children sick or even die if they drink it.
If e-cigarettes aren't proven to be safe or effective, what strategies are recommended for quitting smoking?
People who sell e-cigarettes claim that they help people stop smoking, but there is no conclusive evidence to support this. In fact some studies suggest that e-cigarettes may keep regular cigarette smokers hooked and can cause people who have quit smoking to start again.
Because e-cigarettes are not considered a safe or effective tobacco-cessation method, it is recommended that individuals avoid all e-cigarettes products and use approved nicotine replacement therapy methods like nicotine gum, lozenges and patches.