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Reviewed 1/14/2022

E-cigarettes: Myth or fact?

Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine through vapor instead of smoke. They've become increasingly popular, especially among younger crowds. Do you know the truth behind the trend?

Myth or fact: E-cigarettes are a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. 

Myth. E-cigarettes appear to be less harmful than regular cigarettes, but that doesn’t mean they are safe. E-cigarette aerosol can contain additional harmful and potentially harmful substances, including heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing agents.

Myth or fact: E-cigarettes can help me quit smoking.

Myth. It is still unclear whether e-cigarettes may help people quit smoking. In fact, many people who use e-cigarettes also use regular cigarettes. If you're ready to quit, ask a doctor about proven strategies and products—such as nicotine patches or gum.

Myth or fact: E-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals.

Fact. While e-cigarettes don't burn tobacco, they still contain nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals. Some studies have found formaldehyde and acetaldehyde as well as toxic metals.

Myth or fact: E-cigarettes all have the same amount of nicotine.

Myth. The amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes varies widely. In fact, it's hard to know how much nicotine is actually in the product, regardless of what the package says.

Myth or fact: It's illegal for kids to buy e-cigarettes.

Fact. When e-cigarettes first became available, they could be sold to people of any age. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now prohibits selling them to anyone under 21.

Think before you vape! E-cigarettes may not be the same as traditional cigarettes, but they have their own consequences. If you're interested in a product to help you quit smoking, talk to a doctor about safe and effective options.

Safely stop smoking

Sources: American Lung Association; National Institute on Drug Abuse; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

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