E-cigarette sales have exploded, from $500 million in 2012 to an estimated $1.5 billion in 2013.
Though some e-cigarette users actually do quit smoking cigarettes, the numbers are low. In a study conducted last fall, only about 7 percent had stopped after six months.
Are e-cigarettes really safe? Like in the early days of tobacco cigarettes, it just not clear yet what the long-term effects of using those products will be. Another concern-many come in enticing flavors, with names such as Peach Schnapps, Cherry Crush, and Vivid Vanilla. And because e-cigarettes do contain nicotine, they may lead young people to step up to cigarette smoking.
Consumer Reports' advice is don't start with e-cigarettes just for fun. And if you're trying to quit smoking, stick with approved and better-studied methods, including nicotine gum, patches, and counseling.
The Food and Drug Administration is in the process of trying to regulate e-cigarettes. In the meantime, some states and cities have banned e-cigarettes in public places where tobacco smoking is also prohibited.