5 Things to Know About E-Cigarettes

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What are e-cigarettes

An e-cigarette is a battery operated (disposable or rechargeable) device that contains nicotine. The nicotine is turned into a vapor in the e-cigarette and then inhaled. The vapor looks similar to smoke. E-cigarettes come in all sorts of sizes and sometimes have flavored nicotine cartridges. When you "vape" -- that's the term for puffing on an e-cigarette -- a heating element boils the e-liquid until it produces a vapor.

E-cigarettes aren't regulated

E-cigarettes contain other chemicals besides nicotine, which also get inhaled. Since e-cigarettes aren’t regulated yet, there’s no way of knowing how much nicotine is in them or what other chemicals they contain. These two things make the safety of e-cigarettes unclear.

How much do they cost?

Starter kits usually run between $30 and $100. The estimated cost of replacement cartridges is about $600, compared with the more than $1,000 a year it costs to feed a pack-a-day tobacco cigarette habit, according to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association.

E-cigarettes haven't been shown to be very effective

There haven’t been any scientific studies that prove e-cigarettes actually help people to quit smoking. There is also concern that using e-cigarettes may lead kids to start smoking regular cigarettes.