Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs)
Not Safe for Use in Smokefree Spaces
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are part of a category of products called Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs), which are designed to mimic combustible tobacco cigarettes and, in most cases, contain varying levels of nicotine.
ESDs are relatively new products that require further study. The scientific evidence on the short-term and long-term health effects of the use of ESDs and exposure to ESD secondhand aerosol is growing, and the initial findings indicate there are risks associated with both use and exposure.
As of October 1, 2018, 789 municipalities, 12 states, and two territories include electronic smoking devices as products that are prohibited from use in 100% smokefree environments.
On December 8, 2016, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office released “E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General,” which comprehensively reviewed the public health issue of e-cigarettes and their impact on U.S. youth and young adults. Studies highlighted in the report cover young adolescents (11-14 years of age); adolescents (15-17 years of age); and/or young adults (18-25 years of age). The report stated that, “E-cigarette use among U.S. youth and young adults is now a major public health concern. E-cigarette use has increased considerably in recent years, growing an astounding 900% among high school students from 2011 to 2015. These products are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, surpassing conventional tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and hookahs. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain.”
Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy stated at the press conference announcing the report:
“Secondhand aerosol from electronic smoking devices is not harmless water vapor. The aerosol created by e-cigarettes can contain ingredients that are harmful and potentially harmful to the public’s health, including: nicotine; ultrafine particles; flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds such as benzene, which is found in car exhaust; and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead. State and local leaders should take action to address e-cigarette use and exposure to secondhand aerosol by including e-cigarettes into smokefree policies and laws, preventing access to e-cigarettes by youth, price and tax policies, retail licensure, regulation of e-cigarette marketing likely to attract youth, and educational initiatives targeting youth and young adults.”
The Dangers of E-Cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes and ESDs also pose a risk of fire and explosions, which result in serious injuries and property damage. Our staff has collected various news stories about such events. Please be advised that many of these stories contain graphic and upsetting photos of injuries.
Electronic (e-) Cigarettes and Secondhand Aerosol
Learn more about potential health hazards of secondhand aerosol (a.k.a. vapor) emitted by electronic cigarettes and electronic smoking devices.