Personal Health Care
  Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)  

E-cigarettes are battery operated disposable or rechargeable drug delivery devices.  There are many different types of e-cigarettes but most contain a battery and atomizer that heat up a liquid into a vapor that is inhaled.  Most often the liquid contains nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals.

IMAGE: E-Cigarettes  IMAGE: E-Cigarettes IMAGE: E-Cigarettes   

Are E-Cigarettes Safe to Use?

  •  FDA testing found that e-cigarettes can contain harmful chemicals.  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. For more information, visit the Washington Poison Center website.
  • Nicotine is a highly addictive drug. Additionally the long term health effects of inhaling quantities of liquid nicotine are unknown.

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: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm198176.htm

Youth and E-Cigarettes

One major concern about e-cigarettes is that they are being marketed to young people.  Recent research shows the dramatic increase in the advertising to young people on cable television.  For more information, click here... *Office Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics 

This is a concern because nicotine use of any kind for teenagers is unsafe.  It is a highly addictive drug and it effects brain development.  You can read how nicotine effects brain development in the 2014 US Surgeon General Report. For more information, click here...  *Surgeon General.gov

There are also concerns 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 tobacco users start smoking before age 18.

We know from recent reports and local data that youth are using e-cigarettes.  A recent CDC report showed that:

“More than a quarter of a million youth who had never smoked a cigarette used electronic cigarettes in 2013.”
"Youth who had never smoked conventional cigarettes but who used e-cigarettes were almost twice as likely to have intentions to smoke conventional cigarettes as those who had never used e-cigarettes. “ http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0825-e-cigarettes.html

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  • Kateri Wimsett
  • Tobacco Prevention & Control Coordinator



This page last updated: 12/08/16