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.
- 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.
- 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.