E-Cigarettes have emerged over the past decade and researchers are in the early stage of investigating what the health effects are for people who use these products or who are exposed to the aerosol (vapor) secondhand.
How’s it work? E-Cigarettes are designed to deliver nicotine without the other chemicals produced by burning tobacco leaves. Puffing on the mouthpiece of the cartridge activates a battery-powered inhalation device (called a vaporizer). The vaporizer heats the liquid inside the cartridge, which contains nicotine, flavors, and other chemicals. The heated liquid turns into an aerosol (vapor), which the user inhales—referred to as “vaping.”
Does it help you quit smoking? There are conflicting studies about whether or not e-cigarettes help smokers to quit. However, health experts have raised many concerns about the safety of these products, particularly for teens.
Are they bad for you?
• The aerosol (vapor) does contain known cancer-causing and toxic chemicals, and particles from the vaporizing mechanism may be harmful.
• Some experts believe that using nicotine can increase the risk of other drug use and addiction.
• There is an established link between e-cigarette use and tobacco cigarette use in teens. The concern is that e-cigarette use may serve as a “gateway” or introductory product to try other tobacco products, including regular cigarettes (even if you didn’t intend to smoke cigarettes before) which are known to cause disease and lead to an early death.
• The liquid in e-cigarettes can cause nicotine poisoning if someone drinks, sniffs, or touches it.
Are E-Cigarettes Regulated? The U.S. government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may start to regulate how e-cigarettes are made and sold. For now, e-cigarettes are not guaranteed to be safe and you should not assume that the health claims made in advertisements by manufacturers are scientifically proven.
To learn more, check out NIDA for Teens