E-cigarettes: Know the facts

E-cigarettes should not be used to replace smoking

What is an E-cigarette?

  • E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine through a flavored vapor.
  • They are made so users can feel like they are inhaling tobacco smoke, without the burning tobacco that occurs with a cigarette.

Are E-cigarettes safe?

  • We do not know if e-cigarettes are safe. The e-cigarette is not currently approved by the FDA as a safe and effective method to help smokers quit.
  • E-cigarettes release secondhand vapor (not smoke) that can be seen and smelled. Further research is needed to determine any health related consequences.

What do we know about the E-Cigarette?

  • The amount of nicotine in an e-cigarette is unknown. Although the e-cigarette cartridges are advertised with specific amounts of nicotine, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testing has shown that their actual amounts do not always match the labeling.
  • An FDA study* found that the e-cigarette products contained toxic chemicals- including the ingredient found in antifreeze.
  • More research is needed to find out what other ingredients are in the e-cigarettes and what kind of health or other effects they have on people who use them.

What does this information mean?

  • E-cigarettes should not be used to replace smoking because there is no scientific proof that they can help smokers quit.
  • FDA approved medications such as nicotine patches or Chantix® are proven to help smokers quit and should be used.
  • Medications approved by the FDA in combination with individual or group counseling are shown to be the most successful ways to help smokers quit.
It is important to talk with a health care provider when considering alternatives.

* Westenberger, B.J. , “Evaluation of E-cigarettes. 2009, FDA, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis: St. Louis, MO.