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Drugs & Health Blog

E-Cig Popularity on the Rise

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

Update: Check out these posts on e-cigarettes, too:

Cigarette smoking among American teenagers dropped to a record low in 2012. But are teens turning to a new alternative known as “e-cigarettes”?

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals as vapor that a user inhales, without producing actual tobacco smoke. Some people assume e-cigs are healthier than traditional cigarettes.

A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the use of e-cigs has doubled since 2011, raising the percentage of high school students who have tried them to 10%.

Why Are Teens Trying E-Cigs?                 

  • Advertising: Traditional cigarette TV ads have been banned since 1970, but most e-cigs are not regulated by the FDA. Because of this, they do not fall under the same advertising and marketing rules, so tobacco companies have been buying TV ad time to push e-cigs.
  • Flavors: The lack of FDA regulation has allowed tobacco companies to sell flavored e-cig products such as Bora Bora, with “pronounced notes of Exotic Island spice,” and Iced Berry, which claims to offer “immediate, irresistible refreshment.” These and other exotic flavors can sound very appealing to the younger crowd.
  • Selling to Teens: While more than 20 states have banned store sales to minors, e-cigs can still be bought online. Make no mistake about it—the tobacco companies want your money!

Aren’t E-Cigs Better Than Traditional Cigarettes?

We don’t know. Some companies advertise e-cigs as a way to lower nicotine cravings while causing less harm than traditional tobacco products, and some people claim e-cigs help them quit smoking. But there’s no actual evidence yet to support this claim.

The FDA has found that e-cigs might be safer than regular cigarettes because they do not release tar, carbon monoxide, and other poisons found in cigarettes. However, e-cigs still release carcinogens and other toxic chemicals, whose long-term effects are unknown.

What if you inhale the vapor of a few of these things every day—what will that do to your body over time? We just don’t know—do you want to be a guinea pig?

What’s in the Future for E-Cigs?

The FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products may start regulating the sale of e-cigs. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act has given the FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products, and it will soon be decided if this includes the vaporized form of nicotine used in e-cigs.

For more information on electronic cigarettes, watch this NIDA TV Spotlight.

For information on safely quitting tobacco, see these smoking cessation products.

Comment on this post and tell us what you think: Do you know anyone who uses e-cigs?

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


that's correct, more kids are turning to "e stogs" or "g pens" because there easier to hide and take on the go.
ok but thats still not good it can cause the same amount of damage just like any other types of drugs
Yes Smoking is a very bad habit. It should stopped rather than followed.
that is really dumb
tru since all the facts support that teens think its better
It is true they are better, but does not mean they are good for you at all. Teens should not be able to smoke e cigarettes, can lead to addiction.
ive never picked up a ciggerate i smoke an e-cig, ive smoked one for two years, i just went to a doctor and guess what?IM PERFECTLY FINE!!
Key word "YOUR" perfectly fine... you don't know if the next person will be fine, it's just way to early in research to know what damage if any e-cigs do to the body. We have to wait and see.
a drug is a drug is a drug isadrugisadruga drug is a drug is a drug isadrugisadruga drug is a drug is a drug isadrugisadruga drug is a drug is a drug isadrugisadruga drug is a drug is a drug isadrugisadruga drug is a drug is a drug isadrugisadruga drug is a drug is a drug isadrugisadrug....... and try to stop?........WITHDRAWAL....... YOU STILL END UP EING A SLAVE TO NICOTINE.. AND HAVE TO PAY FOR IT NO LESS??????????
I think this report is outdated citing a report done by the FDA in 2009. It is no question e cigarettes have helped many people quit smoking. Do some research for is vaping safe and you will find more information in regards to the ingredients used.
That's not true e-cigs are just as bad they produce just as much nicotine if not more!
I think this is a critical topic for teens to be aware of. The potential for nicotine addiction that in facts leads to tobacco use later in life is concerning. I am trying to spread the word to teens as well about e-cigs and how they might affect them via an online teen health content community called Real Talk with Dr. Offutt. [link removed, per guidelines].
I love vaping and I recommend it to everyone
Nicotine is a drug. Plain and simple. There is no 'safe' way to ingest a harmful drug.
I have a E-cig it helps me alot not to crave a regular cig so THANK YOU E-CIG COMPANYS!!!!!!
i like it
Clearly, the e-cigarette can help you quit smoking, but it has to assess potential health risks that may result from its use.
What about the liquids that say that there is 0% nicotine in them? I've seen them. Wouldn't they be totally safe since there is no nicotine or anything else in them and you are pretty much inhaling flavored vapor?

Good question, Janice.  Nicotine is the chemical in cigarettes that makes them addictive.  If the liquid doesn't have any nicotine, you would expect it to be safer.  However, we don't know that to be true.  There are other toxic chemicals in that liquid that may be harmful to your health.  It's not just "flavored vapor."  The FDA and other agencies are researching e-cigs and will hopefully be able to answer those questions soon.  

what are carcinogens

Carcinogens are substances that can cause cancer.

Thanks to NIDAMinds for this article. I am using it for more research on smoking.