You’ve probably heard a lot about electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes or e-cigs. Some people say e-cigarettes are a healthier way to smoke or a good way to quit smoking. But e-cigarettes are still new. So there’s much to learn about what’s in them and how they affect people who use them.
If you’re thinking about using e-cigarettes, think about this first:
E-cigarettes contain nicotine… and nicotine is addictive.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, and nicotine is addictive no matter what form it comes in. You could become addicted to nicotine from using e-cigarettes. Nicotine addiction can have negative effects on your brain’s development, which continues into your 20s. Plus, if you’re addicted to nicotine as a teenager, you’re more likely to be addicted as an adult.
Also, there are concerns that using e-cigarettes may lead teens to start smoking regular cigarettes.
There is no clear scientific evidence that e-cigarettes help you quit smoking.
Some e-cigarette companies claim their products can help you quit smoking. But the truth is that the research on e-cigarettes for quitting smoking is limited, and the results are mixed. Until there is more research with convincing evidence, it’s best not to think of e-cigarettes as an aid for quitting smoking.
E-cigarettes aren’t regulated.
The Food and Drug Administration is the agency that makes sure food and medicines are safe in the United States. Since the FDA doesn’t regulate e-cigarettes yet, there’s no way to know for sure how much nicotine is in them or what other chemicals they contain. The safety of e-cigarettes is still not clear.
The same companies that make cigarettes sell e-cigarettes.
Big tobacco companies that sell popular cigarette brands are also selling e-cigarettes. To get teens to use e-cigarettes, they’re using the same marketing tactics they did in the past to get teens to smoke cigarettes and get hooked on nicotine. These marketing methods are now illegal for regular cigarettes, but not for e-cigarettes (yet).
The bottom line on e-cigarettes? We just don’t know enough about their effects, so we don’t recommend you use them. If you’re trying to quit smoking, check out the quitSTART app and other ways to quit that are proven to be safe and effective.