Blog Post created by dr_hurt on May 29, 2009
In recent years, a Chinese company has manufactured an “e-cigarette.” The e-cigarette uses a small battery that atomizes a liquid solution of nicotine, and when an individual inhales the device, a vapor is dispensed, mimicking smoke. It was also designed to mimic the effects of smoking by having a small red light at the tip that lights up with each “drag.” The e-cigarette has been introduced as a product to be used where a smoker cannot smoke and as a product to assist smokers with stopping smoking. Because there is no combustion of tobacco, e-cigarettes are marketed as being less harmful than traditional cigarettes. However, there have been no studies of how much nicotine is delivered by an e-cigarette, to what depths of the lungs the vapor reaches nor what other chemicals or gases are in the vapor. It is not a product that has been approved by the FDA, so at this time, we do not recommend the e-cigarette to our patients as an alternative to smoking or as a method to stop smoking. There are seven medications that have been approved as safe and effective to help smokers stop smoking. Click here to learn more about those seven medications.

Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org