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Don’t Waste Your Money: E-Cigarettes Under The Microscope

E-cigarette sales have exploded, from $500 million in 2012 to an estimated $1.5 billion in 2013.

Though some e-cigarette users actually do quit smoking cigarettes, the numbers are low. In a study conducted last fall, only about 7 percent had stopped after six months.

Are e-cigarettes really safe? Like in the early days of tobacco cigarettes, it just not clear yet what the long-term effects of using those products will be.

Another concern—many come in enticing flavors, with names such as Peach Schnapps, Cherry Crush, and Vivid Vanilla. And because e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, they may lead young people to step up to cigarette smoking.

Consumer Reports’ advice is don’t start with e-cigarettes just for fun. And if you’re trying to quit smoking, stick with approved and better-studied methods, including nicotine gum, patches, and counseling.

The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of trying to regulate e-cigarettes. In the meantime, some states and cities have banned e-cigarettes in public places where tobacco smoking is also prohibited.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.

9 comments

  • stacie bennett

    I know ppl who quit this way. while I havent quit yet they have helped me go from 2 packs a day to 1/2 pack a day

  • Mike L

    I do not know anyone who has had success with quitting smoking using gum or patches. I know many who have tried, though. I DO know dozens of people who have replaced cigarettes with vaporizers. The big tobacco backed e cigarettes are worthless, but other types are worth their weight in gold for many former smokers. While replacing cigarettes with nicotine vaporizers isn’t a great way to quit smoking, it does work and less bad for you.

    No can argue that less people smoking cigarettes filled with dozens of chemicals and carcinogens is a bad thing. Current studies show that the ingredients in e-cigarette liquids (nicotine, vegetable glycerin, proplyne glycol, and food grade flavorings) produce a vapor with “negligible” amounts of toxins. I.e. not any more harmful than the air you breathe.

    Yes, everyone’s goal should be to be free of all addiction. But the media is vilifying e cigarettes as just as harmful as tobacco cigarettes. Try touting some statistics about alcoholism and the harm that does to people (losing jobs, domestic violence, vehicular homicide, etc.) or people’s addiction to their electronic devices.

    No one wants to say that these are a safe alternative, fair enough, but making them seem like they are “less bad” for you (which is painfully obvious) would be a good alternative.

    Maybe with all of the negative media attention more people will just keep smoking tobacco cigarettes because they are afraid of the effects of e cigarettes…

  • Oh, please, let's be real.

    These things stink almost as badly as the real thing, and you look like an idiot holding them (almost as brain dead as the people smoking the real thing). Do everyone else a favor and smoke these, and/or real cigarettes AT HOME-I was stuck behind some bimbo at an indoor concert who was puffing away on a vanilla scented ecig the whole time, anbd I thought I was going to choke. Dumb blonde will never know how close she came to leaving the place with an ecig up her posterior….

    • Oh, please, let's be real. [sic] is on emotional overdrive

      1 rational, point-filled reply and 1 emotion-filled comment full of worthless drivel.

    • Michael Jones

      What a pillock you are, vanilla smells lovely.I smoke for over 50yrs ,triedall the patches etc inc the suicide pill chantix ,nothing worked .Now Tobacco free for over 1 yr.

  • R.S.

    This junk science story has been circulating among network affiliates for weeks now. Isn’t there news about a rescued baby named Jessica in Texas to report?

  • Darrin Gold

    No one under the legal smoking age should ever use an electronic cigarette. Adults that do not smoke should not use an electronic cigarette. I was a smoker for 27 years. I made many attempts to quit during that time. I used the Nicotine patch, the Nicotine gum, the Nicotine lozenge, and will power. On December 17, 2010 I purchased an electronic cigarette and I have been a non smoker since that very first puff. My health has improved as well. I no longer suffer from sinus infections, ear infections or the constant chest congestion I became used to having. I can climb many flights of stairs without getting winded as well. I believe if it were not for the electronic cigarette, I would have been a smoker for the rest of my life. I have seen 100’s of people in my own community switch from cigarettes to electronic cigarettes with the same results.
    As to the idea that they are marketed to kids because of the colors and flavors and only kids would want that, I would direct you to the alcohol isle at most super markets where you can purchase birthday cake vodka. I would also send you to the Apple store where you can buy your new Iphone in many vibrant colors. Then there are the flavored coffee creamers like White Chocolate Raspberry, and even Girl Scout Cookie. Adults like flavors and colors. Are Coffee Mate and International Delight marketing to kids? I doubt it. Or maybe they are. Hmmmm

    A comprehensive review conducted by Dr. Igor Burstyn of Drexel University School of Public Health based on over 9,000 observations of e-cigarette liquid and vapor found “no apparent concern” for bystanders exposed to e-cigarette vapor, even under “worst case” assumptions about exposure.

    Link to study: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/14/18/abstract

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