E-cigarettes are battery-operated disposable or
rechargeable devices designed to deliver nicotine,
flavor, and other chemicals. There are three main
pieces to an e-cigarette: the battery, the vaporizer
or atomizer, and the cartridge which contains the
liquid nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.
While some e-cigarettes are designed to look
similar to a cigarette many look like everyday items
like pens or USB memory sticks.
Are E-Cigarettes Safe to Use?
E-cigarettes may contain known harmful
FDA testing found that they contain carcinogens,
which are substances that cause cancer. They also
found that the e-cigarettes tested had varying
levels of nicotine, which is highly addictive, that
did not always match what the packaging said.
E-cigarettes are currently unregulated, which means
there is no way of knowing how much nicotine or
other chemicals they contain. Based on this
information and no scientific studies demonstrating
they are safe to use, e-cigarettes are considered a
potential health risk. Very young children are at a
higher risk for accidental exposure to liquid
nicotine that may be contained in the cartridges.
Nicotine can be toxic if ingested. If an e-cigarette
cartridge is broken, it could poison a child or pet.
Like other toxics, e-cigarettes should be kept up
and away from young children.
Do E-Cigarettes Help You Stop Smoking?
E-Cigarettes are not medically approved cessation
devices, which means they are not recommended to
help you stop smoking. There are safe and effective
cessation options available. You can learn more
about medically approved cessation options at:
Youth and E-Cigarettes
One major concern about e-cigarettes is whether
they are being marketed to young people. Since they
contain nicotine, youth can become addicted.
Nicotine is a highly addictive
drug. There is concern that using e-cigarettes
may lead young people to using other nicotine
products like hookah and cigarillos (flavored
cigars) which we know can lead to disease and
premature death. Over 90% of people who become
regular smokers start smoking before age 18. We know
from recent reports and local data that
youth are using e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are
available in a variety of kid friendly flavors such
as bubblegum and chocolate. These flavors have been
banned in traditional cigarettes because of concerns
over marketing to youth.
Resources for Parents