Fact box about e-cigarettes

What are they?

E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes, but most have a battery, a heating element and a reservoir to hold a liquid. The liquid typically contains nicotine, which is the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, as well as chemicals like propylene glycol or glycerin and flavorings such as fruit and chocolate. E-cigarettes are a type of electronic nicotine delivery system, or ENDS. Other ENDS products include e-hookahs, e-cigars, e-pipes and vape pens, among others.

Are they harmful?

E-cigarettes are fairly new and not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration; therefore, there’s no way to know for sure what is in them or how much nicotine they contain. There are unanswered questions about their ingredients and how those ingredients may affect the health of people who use e-cigarettes and bystanders around them, both in the short-term and over time.

Are they helpful?

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved e-cigarettes as a device to help people quit smoking. However, seven medicines have been approved by the FDA to help people quit smoking that have been tested for purity and safety, including forms of nicotine such as inhalers, nasal sprays, patches, gums and lozenges.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention