E-cigarettes (electronic nicotine delivery systems) emerged in the U.S. market in 2007 and have rapidly grown in popularity. E-cigarettes, or e-vaporizers, are devices that heat a liquid containing solvents, flavors, and often nicotine. Users inhale the resulting vapor.
A variety of designs are available, some mimicking the look of traditional cigarettes. More than 7,000 flavors are available for e-cigarettes—some of which are especially appealing to youth.
Many convenience stores, drug stores, grocery stores, and other physical and online retail outlets sell e-cigarettes, although as of mid-December 2019, it is illegal to sell any nicotine or tobacco products to people under 21 in the United States. Some convenience stores and drugstore chains have also stopped selling e-cigarettes to promote public health.
Users report the belief that e-cigarette products are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, and many report using them to help quit smoking traditional cigarettes. While it is not yet clear if e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation aids, the devices are sometimes marketed for this purpose. Some research suggests that older adults use these devices as a tobacco substitute, although not always as a cessation method. Users also cite convenience and being conscientious towards others as reasons for using these products.