What You Should Know About E-Cigarettes


Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes for short, are battery-powered devices filled with liquid nicotine (a highly addictive chemical) that is dissolved in a solution of water and propylene glycol. Many of them look like real cigarettes, with a white cylindrical tube, brown filter, and red-glowing tip. Others come in less conspicuous, darker colors.

How Do They Work?

Often termed “vaping,” when you take a puff on the end of the e-cigarette tube, a battery heats up the nicotine, which creates a vapor that is then inhaled into the lungs.


The end result is a sensation of smoke in the mouth and lungs without really smoking.

Are They Safe?
The nicotine inside the cartridges is addictive. When you stop using it, you can get withdrawal symptoms including feeling irritable, depressed, restless and anxious. It can be dangerous for people with heart problems. It may also harm your arteries over time.
So far, evidence suggests that e-cigarettes may be safer than regular cigarettes. The biggest danger from tobacco is the smoke, and e-cigarettes don’t burn. Tests show the levels of dangerous chemicals they give off are a fraction of what you’d get from a real cigarette. But what’s in them can vary.
“E-cigarettes may be less harmful than cigarettes,” Drummond says. “But we still don’t know enough about their long-term risks or the effects of secondhand exposure.”
What are the pros and cons of ecigarettes?
They are a mixed blessing. There are benefits and drawbacks in equal measure, weighted toward the individual but with disadvantages to the State. The advantages include:
  • Ecigs are a life-saver for the individual who cannot or will not quit smoking.
  • They can succeed for smoking cessation when nothing else works.
  • Ecigs are the single greatest health advance of the last 80 years.
  • If all smokers switched to ecigs, the smoking-related death rate would be reduced by 99.99%.
  • If only 50% of smokers switch, the death rate will be reduced by almost 50%.
  • Ecigs will eventually save more lives than even vaccines do.
What You Should Know:

  • Nicotine can affect brain development in children and teens.
  • Some e-cigarettes have candy flavoring, which could make them appealing to kids.
  • They don’t leave a smell like tobacco. So it’s harder for parents to know if their kids are vaping.
  • if you don’t smoke, don’t start vaping. There are no health benefits and some risks.
  • If you smoke and are trying to quit, you’re better off with an FDA-approved method of quitting, Drummond says, like the nicotine patch or gum. There’s good evidence that they help. E-cigarettes may turn out to be an effective way to quit, but we don’t have the proof yet.
  • If you’re not planning to quit, would it be healthier to switch from tobacco products to e-cigarettes? Maybe. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits.