Recent reports about the sharp rise in e-cigarette use among teens and adults have raised questions about the potential health effects of their use and whether they are a safe alternative to traditional smoking. The Kansas Health Institute has released the second brief in a series on the topic of e-cigarettes: Health Effects of E-Cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices used to inhale aerosol (vapor) that typically contains nicotine, and they are sold in many different styles, colors and flavors. E-cigarette vapor is created by heating a fluid mixture commonly called “e-liquid” or “e-juice,” which typically contains nicotine, chemical flavorings and additives such as glycerin or propylene glycol.
Key points of the brief include:
- The negative health effects of nicotine are well-documented, especially for children. Nicotine is generally harmful for the human brain, particularly during developing years. Nicotine poisoning also poses risk and can be deadly.
- Many studies indicate that e-cigarette vapor is less harmful than conventional cigarette smoke.
- Some components of e-liquid, particularly propylene glycol and flavor additives, may pose significant risk to users, and the long-term effects of e-cigarette use are not yet known.
- Public health experts continue to debate whether e-cigarettes help with smoking cessation, reduce harm for smokers who are not ready to quit, or lead teens to begin using other forms of nicotine.
This series on e-cigarettes includes three briefs:
- Issue Brief #1: E-Cigarettes and Their Use in the U.S. and Kansas
- Issue Brief #2: Health Effects of E-Cigarettes
- Issue Brief #3: E-Cigarette Policy, Regulation and Marketing
The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.