Smoking tobacco affects nearly every part of the body; it increases health risks, incidence of cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory disease and early death.38 In the past 20 years there have been major efforts in preventive measures to stop consumers from smoking tobacco. In response to these dangers, the U.S. government issued health warnings, product labeling, mass media campaigns, Surgeon General Warnings, bans on advertisements, nationwide programs and clean indoor air laws regulated by the government.

Recently there has been a growing trend towards a new type of device where cigarette smokers have supplemented their use of traditional cigarettes with an electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) or “electronic cigarette” (e-cigarette) to receive nicotine without the damaging effects of tobacco. The evidence available at this time, although limited, points to high levels of dual use of e-cigarettes with conventional cigarettes, with no proven cessation benefits.43 The literature is clear on the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco, but little is known among health professionals and the public about the use of e-cigarettes.

If e-cigarettes are, in fact, the new rising trend and are used along with or to replace traditional cigarettes, there are more questions that need to be addressed: What is the prevalence of e-cigarette use? What are the risks and benefits of replacing traditional cigarettes with e-cigarettes? What are the federal regulations regarding the manufacturing of this product? What are the components of an e-cigarette?

Having a better understanding of this product will help guide the dental professional in providing accurate information regarding the use of e-cigarettes to their patients.