Drugs & Health Blog

E-Cig Popularity on the Rise

Sara Bellum

As states continue to pass laws that restrict the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, this post from 2013 explores why they've become so popular with teens.

Good news! Cigarette smoking among American teenagers dropped to a record low in 2012.

Not so good news—Many teens are turning to a new alternative known as “e-cigarettes.”

What Are E-Cigarettes?

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.

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 Food and Drug Administration (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.
  • Selling to Teens: While more than 20 states have banned store sales to people under age 18, e-cigs can still be bought online. Make no mistake about it—tobacco companies are in the business of making money!

Are 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 have said that e-cigs help them quit smoking. But so far, there is no evidence 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 (cancer-causing substances) and other toxic chemicals, whose long-term effects are unknown.

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, check out http://teen.smokefree.gov

Comment on this post and tell us: Do you think e-cigs are a good alternative to smoking cigarettes? 

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.


I live in India and here we get to see ads on TV that say "Stop Smoking... Smoking kills". There is no alternative form of cigarettes (e-cigarretes) being sold in India. But people buy them online. I don't think e-cigrattes are any better than normal smoke cigrattes as long as some sort of vaporized nicotine is being used which who knows could be dangerous. I agree that It's popularity has raised due to ads and availability online. [website removed, per comment guidelines]
I kind feel the same way because they don't even know that much about the vaping situation yet so we don't know if its bad for you are nah
Which are the carcinogens released by ENDS? I don't think there are any at all... I wonder why a government controlled website can publish such unconfirmed information as if it were obvious ...

Research on e-cigarettes is very new—there is so much we still don't know.  However, preliminary research reveals that diethylene glycol  and other toxic carcinogens are found in e-cigarettes.  Why take the risk?

Cause they want us to believe what they want us to believe
I used cigarettes for nearly 46 years starting the habit at age 14. Last year I went to ecigarettes after cutting down my cigarette smoking to one pack a day. I made the transition because of cost. After nearly a year on egigs I, like many I have heard of, have no desire to light up a cigarette. In fact I have a Newport next to my bed that I am disgusted with the idea of smoking.My wind is better, food tqastes beter and there is no longer any smokey odor about my clothing. Now we all know of the nicotine scare, but, I am not certain that nicotine is the villian...I think the problem rests in the many other additives in cigarettes placed there to enhance the flavor expwerience. E cigs are a great alternative and should not be over-regulated.
Compared to regular cigarettes. an e-cig seems less damaging, and could possibly help people quit. However, nicotine is addictive, and if you are a teen who has never smoked, why start using e-cigs? Even if they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, why waste the money? Why take the risk down the road when the evidence isn't clear as to the effects of these e-cigs. It's always best to avoid an addiction! Joe Denucci |Palm Beach Institute| [link removed, per comment guidelines]
no one should smoke
I think this blog on e-cigs is an important blog to have, because many people before reading this, probably had the impression that these e-cigs were not harmful to your health at all. However, after reading this, it is clear that e-cigs still produce the cancer causing substances which are still harmful. However, since it is not as harmful as regular cigarettes, e-cigs are given too much hype and should be looked down upon, rather then be as seen a great alternative. I hope seeing this article makes many people think twice before they intake tobacco. Also I think it is great that the age went up to purchase e-sigs, because teens want instant reward, and the flavor of the vapor, will send that instant reward with a little something extra to the teen brain.
Ecigs beat tobacco just saying.
e-cigs are really bad for you they might seem harmless but it is a bad thing to take.
Both e-cigarettes and cigarettes are bad i am never going to smoke!
Awesome dude
Honestly i'm never going to smoke because i know the side effects, but it doesn't matter if people smoke or not honestly it's their choice and at least the e-cigarettes are helping some people.
why don't you guys make your own decisions and if you smoke then you do
i smoke 5 joints of weed everyday and im still alive
But your not going to live as long, and you will struggle from many deseases and stuff. Thats not something you go around saying.
Smoking sucks!
Why would you even smoke in the first place. It is not good for you. E-cigarettes are bad for you to. Smoking is just terrible. You should never start smoking anything. When is it ever good to smoke. People may say that it helps but really it makes you worse. When you will want to stop you can not or you can just take a long time to stop. It will make life hard if you smoke, not easier.
I think that every body has there own opinion and that if they want to get sick and die off of smoking let theme. they were to late to realize that all forms of smoking is bad. pls don't let that be you

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