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Science and Electronic Cigarettes: Current Data, Future Needs

Breland, Alison B. PhD; Spindle, Tory BS; Weaver, Michael MD; Eissenberg, Thomas PhD

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000049

Electronic cigarettes (ECIGs), also referred to as electronic nicotine delivery systems or “e-cigarettes,” generally consist of a power source (usually a battery) and heating element (commonly referred to as an atomizer) that vaporizes a solution (e-liquid). The user inhales the resulting vapor. Electronic cigarettes have been increasing in popularity since they were introduced into the US market in 2007. Many questions remain about these products, and limited research has been conducted. This review describes the available research on what ECIGs are, effects of use, survey data on awareness and use, and the utility of ECIGs to help smokers quit using tobacco cigarettes. This review also describes arguments for and against ECIGs and concludes with steps to move research on ECIGs forward.

From the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products (AB, TS, TE), Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (MW), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX.

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Alison B. Breland, PhD, Center for the Study of Tobacco Products, Virginia Commonwealth University, PO Box 980205, Richmond, VA 23298. E-mail:

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Received December 20, 2013

Accepted April 25, 2014

© 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine