Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-operated devices that are designed to look like and be used in the same manner as conventional cigarettes. They use cartridges to deliver liquid nicotine and other additives. E-cigarettes emit nicotine aerosol (or vapor, as the industry calls it) instead of smoke.
Usage rates among youth are rising fast. From 2011-2013 in Oregon, e-cigarette use increased by 100% in eighth graders and by 250% by eleventh graders.
Currently, e-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA and are not required to comply with tobacco regulations. Anyone, regardless of age, can purchase e-cigarettes. There are no advertising restrictions for this product. The industry spent nearly $21 million on e-cigarette advertising in 2012.
Are they safe?
Electronic cigarettes have not been proven safe. A 2009 FDA analysis of e-cigarettes from two leading brands found that samples contained carcinogens and other hazardous chemicals, including diethylene glycol, which is found in antifreeze.
The FDA also found detectable levels of carcinogenic tobacco-specific nitrosamines in e-cigarette aerosol, posing a “passive vaping” risk to bystanders.
How to Help
Local businesses are encouraged to incorporate e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices into their tobacco-free and smokefree worksite policies and to prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes to youth.
For technical assistance or additional information, contact Carla Bennett, Washington County’s tobacco prevention and education coordinator, at 503-846-4544.