Vaping and electronic cigarettes: what’s the issue?

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, e-cigs) are devices that can be made to look, feel, and sometimes taste like regular cigarettes. They typically have three parts: a battery, a vaporizer, and a cartridge that contains a liquid mixture of chemical ingredients that could include nicotine. The liquid mixture is heated and creates a vapour that is inhaled, commonly known as vaping.


Vaping refers to inhaling or exhaling vapour from an e-cigarette or holding an activated e-cigarette, whether or not the vapour contains nicotine. (Ministry of Health)

Vaping: how it works

  1. Vaping liquid, which contains chemicals, is heated to become an aerosol.
  2. The aerosol is inhaled through the mouth and lungs where it is absorbed into the
  3. The remaining aerosol is exhaled.

Since e-cigarettes don’t burn tobacco, consumers might believe that they are safer than cigarettes. So what’s the issue?

Some concerns about e-cigarettes

Ingredients in the cartridge and refill products may not be properly measured or even listed. They may or may not contain nicotine, and the level of nicotine cannot be guaranteed to be accurate.

An e-cigarette might be appealing to youth and could lead to nicotine addiction.

E-cigarettes and quitting

Currently, e-cigarettes are not scientifically proven as a quit smoking aid, although many people have reported using them to quit smoking.

There are many ways to quit smoking and we recommend options that are research-based and proven safe and effective. These include individual counselling, nicotine replacement therapies (patch, gum, lozenge, inhaler, mist), prescription medications, and self-help guides.

Public Health Sudbury & Districts wants to help you quit smoking. Call our Quit Smoking Clinic for more information at 705.522.3433 (toll-free 1.866.522.3433).

This item was last modified on November 7, 2019