Nine Things To Know About E-Cigarettes


What are e-cigarettes?

“E-cigarettes” — or electronic cigarettes — are devices that allow users to mimic the ritual of smoking a cigarette while inhaling nicotine. Many glow at the end when activated as real cigarettes do. Instead of smoke from burning tobacco, users inhale vapor containing nicotine (with the exception of versions which claim to be free of nicotine), flavor additives and other chemicals.

How do they work?

When users inhale from the end of an e-cigarette, a battery-operated vaporizer heats a liquid solution into a vapor.

Are e-cigarettes approved by FDA?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices. E-cigarette packaging is not required to include health warnings, unlike packaging for conventional cigarettes and FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy products.

Where are e-cigarettes sold?

E-cigarettes are sold over the Internet, in specialized mall kiosks and by some “vaping” retailers. Some stores are located in Bethlehem, Easton, Lower Nazareth, Clinton, Phillipsburg, Allentown and Lehighton.

How much do they cost?

About $60 gets you the e-cigarette, a charger and a liquid cartridge. Refills of the liquid cost $7 to $10 for a 10-millimeter bottle.

How dangerous are e-cigarettes?

The risks posed by e-cigarettes are unknown. The FDA’s Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis investigated the components of a small sample of cartridges from two e-cigarette brands. Test results of the sample of cartridges found them to contain nitrosamines (a known carcinogen), as well as other toxic chemicals, including diethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze.

Who’s against e-cigarette use?

The FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics say electronic cigarettes could lead to an increase in nicotine addiction and youth tobacco use. Of particular concern is that e-cigarette cartridges are sold by some vendors in fruit and candy flavors that appeal to youths and that laws prohibiting the sale of cigarettes to minors may not be written broadly enough to cover e-cigarettes.

What is the legal status of e-cigarettes?

The FDA will regulate e-cigarettes under its authority to regulate other tobacco products. The FDA at one time detained or blocked incoming shipments of e-cigarettes from overseas manufacturers on the basis that e-cigarettes are unapproved drug delivery devices that must pass through the FDA’s New Drug Application (NDA) process before they can legally be sold. Lawsuits have been brought against the FDA to prevent the regulations.

Where can users of e-cigarettes smoke?

The law prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in public places where conventional smoking is also prohibited.