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Electronic Smoking Devices – Know the Facts

What Are Electronic Smoking Devices?

Electronic smoking devices (ESDs) heat and vaporize a solution that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and other chemicals. Many are designed to look and feel like a cigarette, while others look like pens or other harmless objects.

The devices are made of metal or plastic tubes that contain a cartridge filled with a liquid that is vaporized by a battery-powered heating element. The user inhales the aerosol when they draw on the device as they would a regular cigarette. The user then exhales a cloud of secondhand aerosol, which includes toxins and other pollutants.

Electronic smoking devices are also called:
Electronic cigarette, E-cigarette, E-hookah, E-vapor device, Hookah pen, Personal vaporizer, Vape Pen/Vapor Pen, Vapor Cigarette

Not a Safe Alternative to Smoking

ESDs have not been proven as a safe alternative to smoking. Additionally, many people think that e-cigarettes emit harmless water vapor. This is NOT the case. Secondhand aerosol (incorrectly called vapor by the industry) from e-cigarettes contains nicotine, ultrafine particles and low levels of toxins that are known to cause cancer. ESDs are unregulated products that have no requirements for ingredient disclosure, accurate labeling or quality control.1

Surgeon General's Warning
December 2016 the U.S. Surgeon General called electronic cigarettes "dangerous" and a “major public health concern” for youth. The Surgeon General has released this tip sheet for parents to help talk to their kids about e-cigarettes.


FDA Warning

In 2009 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about these devices as they:

Can increase nicotine addiction and lead to use of tobacco products
May contain ingredients that are toxic to humans.
Lack clinical studies on whether they can be safely used as intended AND whether they can produce levels of nicotine that could be potentially harmful.

Not an Effective Device to Quit Smoking

From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): "There is currently no conclusive scientific evidence that e-cigarettes promote long-term cessation, and e-cigarettes are not included as a recommended smoking cessation method by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Rules & Regulations

Colorado law limits the sale of ESDs to those 18 and older and it is illegal to use ESDs on any public school property in Colorado. Colorado does not currently regulate public use, but many communities do.


1. Fuoco, F.C.; Buonanno, G.; Stabile, L.; Vigo, P., "Influential parameters on particle concentration
and size distribution in the mainstream of e-cigarettes," Environmental Pollution 184: 523-529, January 2014