Consumer Report: E-Cigarettes

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More than 45 million Americans smoke. If you’re one of them and are trying to quit, listen up. E-cigarettes are gaining in popularity.

Made to look and feel like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are battery-operated electronic devices that deliver vaporized nicotine without the tar, smoke, and tobacco found in regular cigarettes.

Consumer Reports took a look at the studies and says some suggest that e-cigarettes might be a last resort for smokers who’ve tried quitting again and again and failed. But Consumer Reports cautions that they have not been approved by the FDA, so safety is a major concern. E-cigarettes vary widely, and it’s unclear exactly which chemicals, other than nicotine, are in the devices. And nicotine itself is extremely addictive and can cause harm, too.

Consumer Reports says more in-depth health studies need to be done, and federal oversight of e-cigarettes is necessary. And there’s another concern that’s been raised about e-cigarettes—that they could actually lead to smoking the real thing. That’s because the devices are easily available online to minors, and they come in enticing flavors such as vanilla and piña colada.

For smokers having trouble quitting, Consumer Reports says e-cigarettes just may be the lesser of two evils.

Some states and cities have banned or are considering banning the sale or use of e-cigarettes until more is known about their safety.

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