Electronic cigarettes are designed to look just like regular cigarettes, but there’s one major difference: You don’t need a match or lighter to use them. Instead, they hold a battery, a vaporization chamber and a cartridge filled with liquid nicotine. Puff on the device as you would a regular cigarette, and the device heats the liquid and changes it to a nicotine-filled vapor. Inhale to deliver the nicotine to your lungs, and then exhale the vapor. It looks like you’re smoking a regular cigarette, but there’s no smell, because nothing is burning.
Many regulatory agencies and health experts aren’t sure the e-cigarette is safe. While there are hundreds of companies in the United States alone that are making and selling marijuana vaporizer pen, manufacturers often don’t make specific health or safety claims about their products. They do, however, tout the benefits of e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco.
An electronic cigarette can contain as much nicotine as a regular cigarette — or more. The amount of nicotine an electronic cigarette delivers depends on the content of the liquid-nicotine cartridge installed in it. Customers can choose cartridges containing nicotine in a range of strengths. Some are comparable to the amount of nicotine in a regular tobacco cigarette; others are closer to that of a light or ultralight cigarette. There are also cartridges that contain liquid without nicotine, for users who want the sensory experience of smoking without its effect.
Makers and Sellers
Electronic cigarettes are being sold internationally, and can be easily purchased online. They were originally invented in China by a company called Ruyan, but are now produced by several companies in the United States, Europe and around the world. Because the FDA has seized shipments of electronic cigarettes and their components on the grounds that they are illegal drug-delivery devices, some companies, including the Tennessee-based Pure Enterprises, have begun making e-cigarette products in the United States instead of importing them. Many e-cig manufacturers sell the products online, along with the required cartridges, batteries and other accessories.
Electronic cigarette manufacturers are careful not to directly market their product to young people. However, nicotine cartridges for the e-cigarette come in a wide range of flavors likely to appeal to kids — think chocolate, caramel, strawberry and even bubble gum. And because e-cigarettes are sold online, it’s easier for kids to purchase them than it is for them to buy regular tobacco cigarettes. For example, U.S. law requires consumers to provide proof that they are at least 18 years of age to buy tobacco cigarettes, but this law does not apply to e-cig sellers.