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reviewed  2/25/2019

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 FDA now prohibits selling them to anyone under 18.

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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