An Unhealthy Alternative to Smoking

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that contain a mixture of liquid nicotine and other chemicals. The device heats this mixture, called e-juice, producing a nicotine vapor that is inhaled. There are currently 7700 different flavors of e-juice on the retail market, including; gummy bear, frosting, and caramel apple.

In addition to liquid nicotine, e-juice contains propylene glycol or vegetable-based glycerin and alcohol-based food grade flavorings. While these ingredients are approved for use in food that we eat, we don’t know much about the risks they could pose when mixed with other chemicals and heated to produce a vapor that people inhale.

Facts About E-Cigs

Studies have shown that e-cigarette vapor contains carcinogens such as formaldehyde, isoprene, toluene, N-Nitrosonornicotine, benzene and heavy metals such as nickel, lead, cadmium, arsenic and volatile organic compounds. These chemicals pose a risk to the person using the e-cigarette, as well as to bystanders who are inhaling the secondhand vapor.

Advertising of e-cigarettes is not regulated in the same way as traditional tobacco products and has been shown to target teens and young adults using the same tactics that Big Tobacco has in the past.

Quick facts:

  • The number of American high schoolers using e-cigarettes increased 10-fold between 2011 and 2015 from 1.5% to 16%.
  • More than 75% of youth who had used an e-cigarette in the past 30 days had also smoked combustible tobacco products.
  • Nicotine has been shown to harm teen brain development – and almost all e-cigarette liquid contains nicotine.
  • There have been no long-term studies conducted on e-cigarettes, so the lasting impact on the health of users and of those exposed to secondhand vapor is unknown.
  • Some communities have updated their policies to prohibit e-cigarette use wherever smoking is already prohibited, but there is no statewide policy to protect bystanders from secondhand exposure in restaurants, bars, and some other workplaces.

There is no conclusive scientific evidence which proves e-cigarettes are effective in helping people stop smoking. Until more is known, people looking to quit should use FDA-approved smoking cessation aids that are shown to be safe and effective, such as nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches.