What are electronic cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes or personal vaporizers) are an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. They are battery-operated devices that create an inhalable, water-based mist instead of smoke. The rechargeable battery powers a heating element called an "atomizer." The element uses low heat to turn liquid in the cartridge, which contains propylene glycol, glycerin, food flavoring and nicotine, into a fog-like mist. This fog like mist is not smoke nor does it carry any form of passive smoke related chemicals found in tobacco products and as such is perfectly safe and non invasive to non smokers.
There are many models of e-cigarettes available. Some look like traditional cigarettes, others look similar to a pen and some even look like small flashlights. Some have LED lights, some have built-in liquid reservoirs, others have combined atomizer cartridges, some are tubular and some are even rectangular boxes. They come in all shapes and sizes and have different features for former smokers who wish to distance themselves from anything resembling a traditional cigarette or want a longer battery life and/or better performance.

What are the advantages of vaping over smoking?

1. Completely smoke free nothing is burned. 2. No combustion means no smoke only vapour (steam). 3. No ash, no air pollution and and no smell and the user nor their clothes smell of stale tobacco smoke. 4. No dirty butts to dispose of, no ash trays to clean. no dirty smouldering butts thrown on the street or bush and causing fires. 5. Delivers optional vaporised nicotine, and is available in almost all of the flavours you can imagine. 6. A safer alternative to that of smoking combustible tobacco. Vaping Isn't Smoking No combustion means no smoke. What you see is a water based vapour (just like a fog machine).The solution used to produce the vapour contains no tobacco, meaning electronic cigarette cartridges and PV solutions are not tobacco products. some models resemble a tobacco cigarette (thus the term electronic cigarette) but the majority do not. Some use a two piece design, some are made up of three. Some look like metal tubes while others are wooden boxes. There are countless different varieties allowing you to match your PV to your own individual taste.

Are e-cigarettes safe?

While anything containing nicotine cannot be called 100% safe, evidence from recent studies strongly suggests that they are a much safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. 

Do e-cigarettes contain anti-freeze?
No. This myth was created by a 2009 FDA press statement regarding electronic cigarettes. The FDA tested 18 cartridges from 2 companies. Of those 18 cartridges, 1 tested positive for a non-toxic amount of diethylene glycol (approximately 1%). While diethylene glycol is occasionally used in anti-
freeze, the chemical is not a standard ingredient in e-cigarette liquid and it has not been found in any other samples tested to date.
The base liquid for e-cigarette liquid is usually propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is considered GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA and EPA. While it is also sometimes found in anti-freeze, it is actually added to make the anti-freeze less toxic and safer for small children and pets. Propylene glycol is a common ingredient found in many of the foods we eat, cosmetics we use and medications we take. It is also used in the fog machines used in theaters and night clubs.


Are e-cigarettes approved or regulated by the FDA?
The FDA currently considers e-cigarettes to be tobacco products. Originally, it claimed that e- cigarettes are being used as smoking cessation devices and therefore they needed to be regulated the same as pharmaceutical nicotine replacement therapy drugs (NRTs). In 2009, the FDA ordered customs officials to start seizing e-cigarette shipments coming into the country.
On April 25, 2011, FDA announced in a letter to stakeholders that it would not appeal the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Sottera, Inc. v. Food & Drug Administration, stating that e-cigarettes and other products are not drugs/devices unless they are marketed for therapeutic purposes, but that products "made or derived from tobacco??? can be regulated as "tobacco products??? under the FD&C Act. The FDA stated that it is aware that certain products made or derived from tobacco, such as electronic cigarettes, are not currently subject to pre-market review requirements of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. It is developing a strategy to regulate this "emerging class of products" as tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Products that are marketed for therapeutic purposes will continue to be regulated as drugs and/or devices.
Contrary to some media reports and comments by legislators, regulation as a "tobacco product" under FSPTCA does not mean that e-cigarettes are automatically regulated in the exact same manner as tobacco cigarettes, ie., subject to PACT, flavoring prohibitions and indoor use bans nor subject to the same tax rates. However, it does mean sales of these products to minors are finally prohibited by law.

What e-cigarette brand most looks and tastes like a real cigarette?
This is the most common question on e-cigarette forums. The best answer to that question is "none" and "it doesn't matter."
Since those considering e-cigarettes are usually seeking to replace tobacco cigarettes, they are under the assumption that having the most realistic, tobacco-flavored e-cigarette will bring the most satisfaction. The truth of it is that after switching to e-cigarettes for a few weeks, the vast majority of users discover that looks ultimately don't matter - performance does. And the best performing e- cigarettes don't necessarily look anything like traditional cigarettes because they require larger batteries. And the most popular flavors with experienced users are often as far from tobacco-tasting as one can get.
One problem is that none of the tobacco flavors really taste like burning tobacco - they taste more like fresh tobacco smells and slightly sweet. So, experienced e-cigarette users will tell you that nothing tastes exactly like a burning tobacco cigarette. But, we know you won't believe us and insist on buying something that looks and tastes like a tobacco cigarette. That's ok - we've all been there!

Can e-cigarettes help me quit smoking?
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence and even some scientific research surveys that strongly indicate that e-cigarettes are an effective alternative to smoking. 
However, while some users have gradually reduced the nicotine levels down to zero, the majority of e-cigarette users treat the devices as an alternate source of nicotine and not as a nicotine cessation program. So there is not as much scientific evidence yet that show how effective e-cigarettes are when used to treat or cure nicotine addiction. Yet, anecdotal reports by users who have used e- cigarettes as a way to wean from nicotine also indicates they seem to be very effective way to break smoking triggers and dramatically reduce nicotine levels. As with pharmaceutical NRTs, it depends upon the smoker and the strength of his or her addiction and resolve to quit. E-cigarettes also appear to be a much safer option for short-term use in the event of relapse.
The good news is, nicotine by itself has very low health risks. The most important thing for those who cannot or will not quit nicotine to do is to stop the exposure to the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke and e-cigarettes can help them do it.

How much do they cost?

A basic PV kit will usually cost less than $80. The on going costs of solution and replacing heating elements is around $2 per day.
According to two published surveys the success rate for complete smoking replacement ranges from 63% to 79%. A survey of PV users in Australia (75 users) found the majority (73%) smoked over 20 cigarettes a day before switching while more than 90% now smoke less than 5 per month, if any at all. Why does the Therapeutic Goods Administration say that "electronic cigarettes may be dangerous"? The study the TGA refers to was conducted by the American FDA and announced via Press Release in July 2009. The problem is they left out some important information. A dayʼs supply of liquid contains no more nitrosamines (“carcinogens”) than FDA-approved nicotine products. Although the FDA characterised diethylene glycol (DEG) as antifreeze, actually DEG is a chemical used to keep tobacco moist.The quantity detected was well below toxic levels. In short, the FDA did not find harmful quantities of any substance.

Where can I learn more
Australian Tobacco Alternatives Consumer Association http://ataca.org.au

Health New Zealand "E-cigarettes: harmless inhaled or exhaled" http://www.healthnz.co.nz/ECigsExhaledSmoke.htm

The Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association http://casaa.org

Vapers Network Helping the net work for users of e-cigs