E-cigarette use, especially by youth, has increased rapidly since 2010. This increase is a growing health concern because the nicotine vapor produced by e-cigarettes can damage the brain and nervous system of children and teens, and harm the developing fetus in pregnant women.
The full long-term health consequences of e-cigarettes are unknown. However, sufficient evidence exists to caution against the use of these devices, especially at an early age.
Youth are turning to e-cigarettes in growing numbers
E-cigarettes are becoming the first form of nicotine use for middle- and high-school students.
More often, students who have never smoked are turning to e-cigarettes as a perceived "safe" form of nicotine use. In 2014, one in four high school students used or had tried e-cigarettes.
E-cigarette advertising is appealing to youth.
Youth exposure to e-cigarette advertising in print and online is sharply increasing. E-cigarettes are marketed in candy and dessert flavors that are especially appealing to children.
Nicotine in e-cigarettes is highly addictive.
The nicotine in e-cigarette liquid is identical to the nicotine in conventional cigarettes. E-cigarette use can lead to nicotine addiction and to conventional cigarette smoking as an additional nicotine source.
Nicotine in any form is a known health risk
Nicotine is highly toxic.
Evidence shows that nicotine use can impair the brain and lung development of unborn children. Nicotine use during adolescence can disrupt the formation of brain structures controlling attention, learning, and susceptibility to addiction. Youth use of nicotine in any form, from e-cigarettes or otherwise, is unsafe.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is already sufficient evidence to warn pregnant women, women of reproductive age, and adolescents against the use of nicotine-containing products such as smokeless tobacco, dissolvables, and e-cigarettes as alternatives to smoking.
E-cigarette liquid and vapor can be harmful
Poisonings and death have occurred from exposure to liquid nicotine.
Poisoning has occurred in both users and non-users of e-cigarettes, from absorption through the skin, by inhalation, or from children swallowing e-cigarette liquid. Nationally, calls to poison control centers for liquid nicotine exposure have risen sharply, most of them involving children under 6.
E-cigarettes are regulated by the FDA as tobacco products.
Because of their risks, all nicotine delivery systems, including e-cigarettes and their ingredients, will fall under federal regulation by the FDA beginning in August 2016. Find out more »
Electronic cigarettes are not FDA-approved smoking cessation aids
Research has not established the safety or effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.
There are safe, approved cessation aids available: see QuitlineMS.com.