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Our perspective on e-cigarettes

24 May 2018

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes, also known as e-cigs, MODs and vapes, are battery-powered devices that try to create the same feeling as smoking cigarettes but without tobacco. They use an e-juice solution that is heated and inhaled. The e-juice varies by brand, but it commonly includes propylene glycol, glycerol and flavouring.
Many e-cigarettes also contain nicotine, the addictive drug in tobacco. Different brands and models of e-cigarettes have different amounts of nicotine. When you puff on an e-cigarette and inhale the vapour, the nicotine enters your lungs as a vaporized solution.

What do we think?

Health Canada has legalized the sale of e-cigarettes with nicotine so that e-cigarettes would be accessible as an option for smokers looking to quit. E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but e-cigarettes remain harmful. Studies on the long-term risks of e-cigarettes have not yet been done.
Smokers who have tried other methods to quit but have not succeeded could try e-cigarettes. If it helps them stay off cigarettes, individuals unable to quit completely would be better off from a health perspective to use e-cigarettes on a longer-term basis, if needed. Available research indicates that people should completely stop smoking to realize the comparative health benefits from using e-cigarettes. The best approach would be to quit altogether, with behavioural support or cessation aids or both increasing the chance of success. E-cigarettes should not be used by youth, by non-smokers, or by ex-smokers who have quit altogether.

Find out more about Health Canada’s perspective on e-cigarettes.

Find out more about quitting smoking.