Facts about Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)

What are electronic cigarettes?

  • Electronic cigarettes, also called e-cigarettes or vaporizer cigarettes, are battery-operated devices that release aerosolized nicotine that is inhaled by the user.
  • E-cigarettes vary in shape, size and general appearance. They often look like cigarettes, but can also look like other everyday items such as ballpoint pens.
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Do e-cigarettes help smokers quit? 

To date, there is no scientific evidence that e-cigarettes can be used to quit smoking. E-cigarettes have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as smoking cessation devices.

Are there risks to using an e-cigarette?

Since e-cigarettes are not currently regulated by the FDA, there is the potential of many health risks:

  • Ingredients in the cartridges are not always known.
  • Some tests have shown high levels of nicotine and other harmful substances and chemicals.
  • The FDA has received many reports of harmful effects that might be related to e-cigarette use including pneumonia, heart failure and breathing problems (FDA).
  • Some e-cigarettes contain aerosol. Exposure to the aerosol can cause immediate airway constriction both for the smoker and those who may be exposed to the secondhand aerosol.
  • More research is needed to assess both the risks and benefits of e-cigarette use.

E-Cigarettes can also be dangerous for children:

  • Children might confuse the flavors of liquid nicotine for candy.
  • Liquids from e-cigarettes can be poisonous if swallowed, and can be harmful if it gets on skin or in the eyes.
  • The liquid nicotine from e-cigarettes can cause serious health problems, including emergency room visits, seizures and even death.

Are e-cigarettes legal in Colorado?

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Denver Public Health, LegacyForHealth.org, Americans for Non-Smokers Rights, FDA-Public Health Focus, FDA-Consumer Updates, European Lung Association.