Electronic Cigarettes

What are electronic cigarettes?

Electronic smoking devices (ESD), commonly referred to as electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, hookah pens, vape pens and e-hookahs are battery operated devices made to look and be used like conventional cigarettes. ESDs heat a solution that typically contains nicotine, creating an aerosol that is inhaled by the user when they draw on the device and exhaled into the environment.4

What you should know:

  • Skull and cross bones signESDs come in a wide variety of designs, flavors and nicotine levels and they are not required to disclose ingredients, provide accurate labeling, or quality control.
  • ESDs are not approved by the FDA for smoking cessation.26
  • Nicotine is highly addictive and poses known harms for youth, pregnant women and their developing fetuses and adults.26
  • ESD aerosol contains a high concentration of ultrafine particles and low levels of toxins that are known to cause cancer.4  “Nothing but water vapor” is a false claim made by manufacturers and supporters. Water is not an ingredient in ESDs.5
  • Direct inhalation of ESD aerosol either from the device or from secondhand aerosol that is exhaled by users is potentially harmful26. Exposure to ESD aerosol can cause eye, throat and airway irritation as well as cause asthma in children.6,7
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that ESDs not be used indoors, especially in smoke free environments in order to minimize the risk of bystander exposure to secondhand emissions.8

Smoking, either cigarettes, cigars, hookahs or any other form of combusted tobacco remains the leading cause of death and disease in Iowa. For free help to quit tobacco and ESD use, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

For more information on e-cigarettes and other electronic smoking devices, please visit:


Revised: 10/7/21