Popular Science

E-cigarettes could help you quit smoking—and help your kids start

All aboard the nicotine train.

vaping

Vaping has public health benefits. For now.

Talgat Baizrahmanov via Unsplash

Ever since they came on the scene in 2006, electronic cigarettes, more commonly known as e-cigs or vapes, have been the subject of a rather lethargic debate. Do these products, which vaporize liquid nicotine in favor of burning tobacco for a fix, provide a healthier alternative to smokers looking to quit? Or do they serve only to tempt those who would otherwise never get addicted to nicotine at all?

According to the on the subject so far, gathered by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at the request of the FDA, the answer is—well, both. Maybe. On the one hand, it seems clear that on several metrics the electronic products are better for one’s health than combustible cigarettes, and there’s evidence that they can help some adult smokers quit. On the other, there is strong evidence that appeals to kids and teens, and the new report finds that these users often progress from e-cigs to combustible cigarettes. With just a decade of data on e-cigarette use, we have no way of

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