Electronic Cigarette FAQs

Here are a number of frequently asked questions about electronic cigarettes:

  • Q:  Are electronic cigarettes safer than tobacco cigarettes?

A:  Tobacco cigarette smoke contains as many as 4,000 different ingredients, including over 43 known carcinogenic toxins.  Electronic cigarettes typically contain four ingredients: water, propylene glycol (a food-safe additive approved by the F.D.A.), flavor and nicotine.

  • Q:  Do electronic cigarettes contain anti-freeze?

A: A common mis-conception is that electronic cigarettes contain ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in anti-freeze.  This is often confused with propylene glycol, the food-safe additive needed for vaporization in electronic cigarettes.  Electronic cigarettes contain no ethylene glycol.

  • Q:  Where can I read a study outlining the safety of electronic cigarettes:

A:  While many organizations are looking into and monitoring electronic cigarettes, there have been no studies to date that have determined that electronic cigarettes have any harmful effects to the users, other than the widely-studied effects of nicotine.

  • Q:  Can I quit smoking toxic tobacco using electronic cigarettes?

A:  Many people have replaced expensive, toxic tobacco cigarettes with electronic cigarettes.  A number of these users have reported improved health benefits including improved senses of taste and smell.

  • Q:  What flavors of electronic cigarette cartridges are available?

A:  Electronic cigarettes are available in a variety of flavors, including tobacco, menthol, vanilla, coffee and chocolate. Some vendors are even experimenting with other flavors such as apple and cherry.

  • Q:  What is an atomizer?

A:  The atomizer is a battery-powered device found in an electronic cigarette that, when activated by inhaling on the cigarette, turns some of the liquid mixture in the cartridge into a vapor that is inhaled into the lungs just like cigarette smoke.

  • Q:  Does an electronic cigarette taste just like a regular tobacco cigarette?

A:  This depends on your tastes.  For some people, a tobacco-flavored electronic cigarette tastes very similar to a tobacco cigarette, while others report minor differences in the taste.

  • Q:  Does a tobacco-flavored electronic cigarette contain tobacco?

A:  No.  A tobacco-flavored electronic cigarette contains tobacco flavoring, but no actual tobacco.

  • Q:  What is the difference between a two-part electronic cigarette and a three-part electronic cigarette?

A:  A three-part unit consists of a battery, an atomizer and a flavor cartridge.  Two-part units are a battery and a cartridge that contains an atomizer.  Two-part electronic cigarettes typically are a little more expensive than three-part units, because each cartridge contains a fresh atomizer.  Because atomizers can often clog up and be difficult to operate after repeated use, having a fresh atomizer with each new cartridge can significantly improve the smoking experience.

  • Q:  Are electronic cigarettes more expensive than tobacco cigarettes?

A:  With ever-increasing tobacco taxes imposed by state and federal governments, electronic cigarettes are often much less expensive.  With disposable and rechargeable models available, there is an electronic cigarette option for every budget.

  • Q:  I have never smoked.  Can I use electronic cigarettes?

A:  While using nicotine products are up to the discretion of every adult, it is advisable that if you have never smoked that you don’t start using nicotine products.  Fortunately, some electronic cigarette manufacturers offer versions that contain no nicotine, so you can enjoy electronic cigarettes without addictive nicotine.

  • Q:  Can I quit smoking altogether using electronic cigarettes as a stop smoking aid?

A:  Electronic cigarettes are not considered to be a “stop smoking aid” as opposed to a healthier alternative to tobacco cigarettes.  While many people have switched from tobacco cigarettes to electronic cigarettes at a comfortable nicotine level and then eventually moved to lighter levels of nicotine before weaning themselves completely, electronic cigarettes are not specifically designed for quitting smoking like nicotine gums and patches.