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What you need to know about e-cigarettes

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 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.

How do they compare to conventional cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are less harmful than conventional cigarettes, but they still cause harm. And studies on the long-term risks of e-cigarettes have not yet been done.

E-cigarettes should not be used by youth, non-smokers or ex-smokers who have quit altogether. If you are a smoker who has tried but not succeeded with other quitting methods, you would be better off from a health perspective to use e-cigarettes if it helps you stay off conventional cigarettes, including on a longer term basis if needed. Research so far shows that to get the comparative health benefit of using e-cigarettes (that is, the lesser harm caused by e-cigarettes compared to the greater harm cause by conventional cigarettes), you should completely stop smoking conventional cigarettes.

The best approach for your health is to quit using any type of cigarette or tobacco product altogether. Behavioural support or cessation aids or both increase the chances of successfully quitting.

Find out more about Health Canada’s perspective on e-cigarettes.
Find out more about our advocacy work to regulate e-cigarettes.
Find out more about quitting smoking.


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