Data on electronic cigarette, or e-cigarettes, suggests that sales are up and it’s predicted that e-cigarette sales will exceed cigarette sales in the next decade. A major reason for the increase in sales is that e-cigarettes cost less than heavily taxed cigarettes. E-cigarettes have been marketed as being safer and perhaps an aid in smoking cessation. Until now, most of the marketing has been online and on billboards and store signs. In June 2014, the R. J. Reynolds company began a national campaign to market the first American made e-cigarette (prior to Reynolds entering the marketplace, e-cigarettes were imported from China and other countries).
It’s unclear what role e-cigarettes play in smoking cessation. Half of smokers who want to quit have reported using e-cigarettes, which have varying nicotine delivery amounts. Some do not contain nicotine at all and instead contain mint or other flavors. To date, evidence is lacking on whether or not e-cigarettes increases smoking cessation success. As clinicians, we need to assess patients and need to be asking if patients smoke and/or use electronic cigarettes. We also need to become informed of research findings on e-cigarette safety, which is especially critical at a time when e-cigarette manufacturers are increasing their marketing efforts about them.