Are electronic cigarettes safe?

What is known about electronic cigarettes? Are they considered a better alternative to smoking?—SUSIE SHAPIRO, FNP-BC, Phoenix

In July 2009, the FDA issued a press release warning consumers against the use of electronic cigarettes; however, the regulatory status of these products remains under review at this time. Last year, the state of California rejected a law that would forbid the sale of these devices based on the fact that, at worst, they no more "illegal" than standard cigarettes. As to their safety, an industry trade association claims the average daily consumption of nicotine with electronic cigarettes is 3.36 mg, compared with 48 mg with standard cigarettes.—Sherril Sego, FNP-C, DNP (139-12)

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