Lifestyle

Are e-cigarettes a safe alternative to smoking?

An electronic cigarette is a battery-operated device that emits doses of vaporized nicotine, or non-nicotine solutions, for the user to inhale. It aims to provide a similar sensation to inhaling tobacco smoke, without the smoke.

Also known as e-cigarettes, e-cigs, electronic nicotine delivery systems, vaporizer cigarettes, and vape pens, they are marketed as a way to stop or cut down on smoking.

E-cigarettes have been taken up by millions around the world since they first appeared on the Chinese market in 2004. In 2016, 3.2 percent of adults in the United States were using them.

“Vaping” is now the most popular form of tobacco use among teenagers in the U.S. E-cigarette use rose by 900 percent among high school students from 2011 to 2015.

In 2016, over 2 million middle and high school students had tried e-cigarettes. For those aged 18 to 24 years, 40 percent of vapers had not been smokers before using the device.

A growing body of research suggests that vaping may be hazardous.

While it may help existing smokers to give up, there is concern that young people are starting to vape for its own sake, and not to replace tobacco use.

In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) started to enforce rules about the sales, marketing, and production of these products.