E-Cigarettes and Vaping

E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Electronic smoking products, commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes—consist of a cartridge that stores a liquid solution, a battery-operated heating element and an atomizer. When heated, the atomizer slowly creates an aerosol (commonly known as vapour) that is inhaled by the user, which has become known colloquially as “vaping.”

The cartridges of ESPs can be replaced or refilled with liquid, commonly known as e-liquid, or e-juice, which is sold separately. The e-liquids are available in a variety of different flavours and are available with and without nicotine. 



Viewpoints Opinions regarding the safety of ESPs and their role in tobacco cessation vary widely.

1. those who oppose any form of tobacco use and see ESPs as a threat to the gains made in tobacco cessation

2. those who advocate for harm reduction and regard ESPs as less harmful than smoking

3. those who see ESPs as a personal choice

The use of e-cigarettes has also been promoted, and even allowed, as a way around existing smoking prohibitions and regulations, with some promotional materials for ESPs going so far as to have claimed that the World Health Organization (WHO) supports the use of ESPs as cessation aids. However, the WHO states that the e-cigarette is not a proven nicotine replacement therapy.



Although ESPs are generally reported to contain lower levels of toxic and cancer-causing compounds than tobacco smoke, despite the lower levels of these compounds, the health effects of their long-term inhalation by ESP users have not been studied. 

  • ESP's are not without health risks to both the users and those around them. Risks include;
  • Ultrafine particles in the vapour can be deposited in the lung.
  • Metals (e.g., nickel, cadmium and mercury)22 and other toxic compounds (e.g., diethylene glycol, formaldehyde and benzene) 22 have been found in the e-liquid
  • Nicotine Exposure; FDA results showed that e-cigarette cartridges labelled as nicotine-free contained nicotine
  • Deaths of children from both ingestion of e-liquids and choking on e-liquid containers have been reported
  • Fetal and adolescent nicotine exposure can have long-term consequences for brain development
  • Gateway to tobacco? Concerned that the use of e-cigarettes may lead young people to experiment with conventional tobacco products.
  • ESPs have been reported to explode and catch fire



Health Canada, AHS and the FDA also do not support the use of ESPs as tobacco cessation aids. 

(Source: Alberta Quits)


Additional Resources

About Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigarettes)

Quick Facts on Ristks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults

Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping