Vapor stores are popping up left and right, and advertisements for e-cigarettes
are on the rise. Touted as an alternative to traditional tobacco products,
these devices are quickly becoming popular, especially with young adults.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs or e-cigarettes), Personal Vaporizers (PV)
or Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) are battery-powered vaporizers
that offer smokers an experience similar to tobacco smoking. E-cigarettes
do not contain tobacco, but they do use e-liquids that contain nicotine
from tobacco plants. E-liquids are usually a mixture of chemicals like
propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine and flavorings that produce an aerosol—or
instead of smoke.
How Do They Work?
E-cigarettes are made to look like a traditional tobacco cigarette or other
household item, such as an ink pen or computer thumb drive. They are battery
operated and have a heating element and cartridge for the e-liquid. The
liquid heats up, and when an individual inhales, the end of the device
glows. As the user exhales, a cloud of vapor is produced that looks like
smoke. Using an e-cigarette is commonly referred to as “vaping.”
Are They Safer Than Regular Cigarettes?
This is yet to be determined. According to the
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), e-cigarettes have not been fully studied, so consumers currently don’t know:
- the potential risks of e-cigarettes when used as intended
- how much nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals are being inhaled
- whether or not there are any benefits associated with using these products.
Additionally, it is not known whether e-cigarettes may lead young people
to try other tobacco products,including conventional cigarettes, which
are known to cause disease and lead to premature death.
Can They Help Me Quit Smoking?
It is known that smoking (and use of other tobacco products) is dangerous
to your health and that if you smoke, you should quit. Since the health
risks of e-cigarettes are still unknown, you should discuss an appropriate
smoking cessation plan with your primary care physician.If you do not
smoke, don’t begin vaping.
For helpful tips on quitting smoking, watch the
“Smoking Cessation” video of Cardiologist
Jherie D. Ducombs, MD at