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Research & Evidence: Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems

This large, nationally representative study of US youths supports the view that e-cigarettes represent a catalyst for cigarette initiation among youths.
Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Subsequent Initiation of Tobacco Cigarettes in US Youths
Berry KM, Fetterman JL, Benjamin EJ, et al
JAMA Netw Open

2019

Andy S L Tan; Soneji Samir, Moran, Meghan Bridgid; Choi, Kevin. "JUUL Labs' sponsorship and the scientific integrity of vaping research." The Lancet, August 3, 2019.

As of 2018, 98 countries regulate e-cigarettes, including their sale, marketing, packaging, manufacturing, taxation, reporting, and clean air laws.1 Some countries have banned e-cigarettes completely, such as Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore,1 whereas other countries, such as the UK, consider e-cigarettes as part of a public health harm reduction strategy.2 The USA has regulated e-cigarettes as a tobacco product since 2016. 

Berry KM, Fetterman JL, Benjamin EJ, et al. "Association of Electronic Cigarette Use With Subsequent Initiation of Tobacco Cigarettes in US Youths." JAMA Netw Open, February 1, 2019.

This large, nationally representative study of US youths supports the view that e-cigarettes represent a catalyst for cigarette initiation among youths. The association was especially pronounced in low-risk youths, raising concerns that e-cigarettes may renormalize smoking behaviors and erode decades of progress in reducing smoking among youths. Although the individual-level risk of cigarette initiation was comparable for prior e-cigarette users and prior other tobacco product users, the proportion of new cigarette use attributable to prior e-cigarette use appears larger than the proportion attributable to prior use of all other products combined. These findings strengthen the rationale for aggressive regulation of youth access to and marketing of e-cigarettes to achieve future decreases in the prevalence of cigarette use among youths.

2018

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams. "Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-cigarette Use Among Youth." December 18, 2018.

I, Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, VADM Jerome Adams, am emphasizing the importance of protecting our children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction and associated health risks by immediately addressing the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use. The recent surge in e-cigarette use among youth, which has been fueled by new types of e-cigarettes that have recently entered the market, is a cause for great concern. We must take action now to protect the health of our nation’s young people.

Patrick, Megan E., PhD; Richard Miech, PhD; Lloyd Johnston, PhD; Patrick M. O’Malley, PhD; Jerald G. Bachman, PhD. "Adolescent Vaping and Nicotine Use in 2017–2018 — U.S. National Estimates." New England Journal of Medicine, December 17, 2018.

 A rapid increase in the prevalence of vaping among adolescents has aroused public health concern. Adolescents who “vape” use a device such as an electronic cigarette to inhale a heated aerosol, which typically contains nicotine. In 2017, vaping was the most common use of any tobacco-like product among adolescents.1 This is a rapid rise from a near-zero prevalence of vaping in 2011.2 We assessed whether the prevalence of nicotine vaping increased among adolescents from 2017 to 2018.

Kuiper NM, Loomis BR, Falvey KT, Gammon DG, King BA, Wang TW, et al. "Trends in Unit Sales of Flavored and Menthol Electronic Cigarettes in the United States, 2012–2016." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Preventing Chronic Disease, August 23, 2018.

CDC and RTI International analyzed retail scanner data to assess national and state-specific trends in sales of flavored and menthol e-cigarettes.  Findings from this analysis include:

  • During 2012-2016, flavored e-cigarette sales as a percentage of all e-cigarette sales rose national from about 2% to nearly 20% in all but four states
  • Menthol e-cigarette sales remained stable nationally at 35-40%
  • Over half of total e-cigarette sales in 2016 were flavored or menthol products, and sales varied by product type
  • Continued monitoring of the variety of flavored tobacco products available in the United States, including combustible, noncombustible, and electronic tobacco products, is critical for informing comprehensive tobacco prevention and control strategies
Marian Freedman and Michael G Burke, MD. "High-nicotine e-cigarettes lead to more smoking and vaping." Contemporary Pediatrics, February 1, 2018.

Compared with adolescents who use e-cigarettes with relatively low or no nicotine concentrations, those who use e-cigarettes with higher nicotine concentrations are more likely to progress to more frequent and intense combustible cigarette smoking and vaping.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. "Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes." Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2018.

Millions of Americans use e-cigarettes. Despite their popularity, little is known about their health effects. Some suggest that e-cigarettes likely confer lower risk compared to combustible tobacco cigarettes, because they do not expose users to toxicants produced through combustion. Proponents of e-cigarette use also tout the potential benefits of e-cigarettes as devices that could help combustible tobacco cigarette smokers to quit and thereby reduce tobacco-related health risks. Others are concerned about the exposure to potentially toxic substances contained in e-cigarette emissions, especially in individuals who have never used tobacco products such as youth and young adults. Given their relatively recent introduction, there has been little time for a scientific body of evidence to develop on the health effects of e-cigarettes.

Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes reviews and critically assesses the state of the emerging evidence about e-cigarettes and health. This report makes recommendations for the improvement of this research and highlights gaps that are a priority for future research.

2017

Drope, J., Cahn, Z., Kennedy, R., Liber, A. C., Stoklosa, M., Henson, R., Douglas, C. E. and Drope, J. "Key issues surrounding the health impacts of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and other sources of nicotine." CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, September 29, 2017.

Over the last decade, the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including the electronic cigarette or e-cigarette, has grown rapidly. More youth now use ENDS than any tobacco product. This extensive research review shows that there are scientifically sound, sometimes competing arguments about ENDS that are not immediately and/or completely resolvable. However, the preponderance of the scientific evidence to date suggests that current-generation ENDS products are demonstrably less harmful than combustible tobacco products such as conventional cigarettes in several key ways, including by generating far lower levels of carcinogens and other toxic compounds than combustible products or those that contain tobacco. To place ENDS in context, the authors begin by reviewing the trends in use of major nicotine-containing products. Because nicotine is the common core—and highly addictive—constituent across all tobacco products, its toxicology is examined. With its long history as the only nicotine product widely accepted as being relatively safe, nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT) is also examined. A section is also included that examines snus, the most debated potential harm-reduction product before ENDS. Between discussions of NRT and snus, ENDS are extensively examined: what they are, knowledge about their level of “harm,” their relationship to smoking cessation, the so-called gateway effect, and dual use/poly-use. 

Hines, Jonas Z. MD ; Steven C. Fiala, MPH ; Katrina Hedberg, MD. "Electronic Cigarettes as an Introductory Tobacco Product Among Eighth and 11th Grade Tobacco Users — Oregon, 2015." CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), June 16, 2017.

During 2011–2015, increased electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) and hookah use offset declines in cigarette and other tobacco product use among youths (persons aged <18 years)

2016

"E-cigarette use among youth and young adults : a report of the Surgeon General.." U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, December 8, 2016.

This report confirms that the use of electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes) is growing rapidly among American youth and young adults. While these products are novel, we know they contain harmful ingredients that are dangerous to youth. Important strides have been made over the past several decades in reducing conventional cigarette smoking among youth and young adults. We must make sure this progress is not compromised by the initiation and use of new tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes. 

2015

Thornburg, Jonathan; Quentin Malloy, Seung-Hyun Cho, William Studabaker, and Youn Ok Lee. "Exhaled Electronic Cigarette Emissions: What’s Your Secondhand Exposure? ." RTI Press, Research Briefs, March 2015.

As e-cigarette use rapidly proliferates in the United States, research is needed to determine potential health risks posed by emissions from e-cigarettes. Currently, little scientific evidence on the toxicant exposures posed by e-cigarette use is available, particularly for a non-user’s secondhand exposures in public places.

Laurie P. Whitsel, PhD, Neal Benowitz, MD, Aruni Bhatnagar, PhD, FAHA, Chris Bullen, MBChB, PhD, Fred Goldstein, Lena Matthias-Gray, BS, Jessica Grossmeier, PhD, MPH, John Harris, MEd, Fikry Isaac, MD, MPH, Ron Loeppke, MD, MPH, Marc Manley, MD, MPH, Kare. "Guidance to Employers on Integrating E-Cigarettes/Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Into Tobacco Worksite Policy." Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, March 2015.

In recent years, new products have entered the marketplace that complicate decisions about tobacco control policies and prevention in the workplace. These products, called electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or electronic nicotine delivery systems, most often deliver nicotine as an aerosol for inhalation, without combustion of tobacco. This new mode of nicotine delivery raises several questions about the safety of the product for the user, the effects of secondhand exposure, how the public use of these products should be handled within tobacco-free and smoke-free air policies, and how their use affects tobacco cessation programs, wellness incentives, and other initiatives to prevent and control tobacco use. In this article, we provide a background on e-cigarettes and then outline key policy recommendations for employers on how the use of these new devices should be managed within worksite tobacco prevention programs and control policies

2014

In a new study of cancer patients who smoke, those using e-cigarettes (in addition to traditional cigarettes) were more nicotine dependent and equally or less likely to have quit smoking traditional cigarettes than non-users. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the findings raise doubts about the potential benefits of e-cigarettes for helping cancer patients give up smoking.