Tobacco use is responsible for more than 5 million deaths per year worldwide source CDC . But it’s a preventable cause of death. So, it’s not surprising that, when a new device that has the potential to help people quit smoking hits the market, many smokers are willing to give it a try. And one of the latest to make that claim is the electronic cigarette.

It was invented in China by a company called Ruyan in 2003 and first introduced to the U.S. market in 2007, and it’s gaining both friends and foes across the world. But what’s the deal? Can they really help you quit smoking? Proponents of e cigarettes say yes and think they’re better than smoking tobacco cigarettes both for their health and for their wallets. But the FDA and other health agencies aren’t so sure. They want to know more about the side effects of the electronic cigarette, and some are calling for tight regulations. Currently e cigs aren’t subject to U.S. tobacco laws because they don’t contain tobacco, which makes them hard to regulate and keep out of the hands of minors.

So what’s the bottom line for this new vaping craze? Well, that’s where the anecdotal evidence from e cigarette makers and users comes up against arguments from regulatory agencies and health experts. And both sides make some worthwhile points. Read on to find out what they have to say.

Water vapor cigarettes

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Vapor cigarette smoking has taken off to extraordinary heights. In fact, Time Magazine called it the “Future of Smoking.” We’re here to make sure you understand exactly how they work.

One question people in our circles of friends have asked are “is it really just water vapor inside these e cigs?”

That’s a great question, so today we’ll attack just that.

The answer is “NO.” If an e cig battery just consisted of water vapor, it wouldn’t make a very good alternative, nor would it taste very good. )

Every electronic cigarette brand will slightly vary, but for the most part, they all use nicotine, propylene glycol, (of USP Grade quality) vegetable glycerin (also of USP Grade quality) and when pertinent, flavoring agents. Before you go and search online for these ingredients, know that we’re experts in this industry and know these products inside out. In fact, you’ll find them in most of your kitchens, so you already consume these substances.

E Cigarette terminology can be confusing, so it’s best to remember how new this industry is and that when anyone of authority refers to them by a name, it has the potential to stick. So, to be sure you know we are on the same page, you can feel free to use these words interchangeably when referring to electronic cigarettes e cigs, e cigarettes, electric cigarettes, vapor cigarettes, water vapor cigarettes, steam cigarettes, and of course electronic cigarettes.

For more information, read our electronic cigarette reviews for 2014.