What are e-cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are products that allow users to breathe in vapor. The vapor contains nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. These products are commonly referred to as:
- Vape pens
- Tank systems
Why do people use e-cigarettes?
Common reasons for using e-cigarettes include curiosity, flavor, and taste. Some people believe that they are less harmful than other tobacco products. e-Cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco products among youth, exceeding conventional cigarettes in 2014. e-Cigarettes are promoted as smoking cessation tools; many people believe that e-cigarettes are quitting aids.
What is the controversy about e-cigarettes?
e-Cigarette vapor is likely to be less toxic than cigarette smoking. However, e-cigarettes are NOT an FDA-approved quit-smoking aid. The evidence is currently not enough to prove that e-cigarettes are effective for quitting smoking. There are no long-term safety studies of e-cigarette use.
What are the risks?
e-Cigarette vapor is NOT harmless. It can contain harmful ingredients, including nicotine. Nicotine exposure during youth can cause addiction and can harm the developing brain. e-Cigarettes should not be used indoors or around children. Drinking e-cigarette liquids can cause sickness and possibly death. The health effects and potentially harmful doses are not completely understood. Patients are urged to set a quit date for their e-cigarette usage. Continued cigarette smoking, even at lower levels, continues to increase health risk.
Questions to ask your health-care provider:
- What are the types of medicines that can help me stop smoking?
- What else will help besides medications?
- If I have tried to quit is the past, is it worth trying again? (Most smokers try several times before being successful)
- Do all people gain weight when they stop smoking?
- What can I do to keep my weight steady while trying to quit?
Date Last Reviewed
Kathleen Doo, MD
Jay Peters, MD, FCCP
University of Texas Health Science Center