Have you thought about quitting smoking? You’re not alone. Seven out of 10 people in the U.S. reported wanting to quit smoking, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are many cessation options out there such as medications, patches and lozenges. But what about e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes were first created in 2003 in China and came to the United States in 2006. They were advertised as a nicotine replacement and the “healthier” way to quit smoking.

While the effects of smoking e-cigarettes are still being studied, what we do know is that e-cigarettes are not safer than smoking and may potentially be even more harmful. The liquid in e-cigarette cartridges contains nicotine, as well as propylene glycol, flavorings and other compounds such as lead, manganese, nickel, arsenic, and tin. When inhaled, these metals are potentially carcinogenic and toxic to the body.

The most common emerging adverse effect of the devices is e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury, or EVALI. As of Dec. 17, the CDC has reported more than 2,500 hospitalized cases of EVALI in the U.S. with 54 confirmed deaths.

Vitamin E acetate, an ingredient used in vaping liquids containing THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis), has been linked to many of the patient samples tested. This lung injury leads to symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, vomiting blood, nausea, vomiting, fevers, chills and even respiratory failure.

There are much safer and more effective ways to stop smoking that are FDA-approved, such as nicotine replacement with lozenges, gum, inhaler, nasal spray or skin patches. There are also prescription medications such as varenicline and bupropion. And peer support groups can help through the process.

If your new year’s resolution list includes quitting smoking, that is the first step into a healthy lifestyle for your future. It may take several attempts to quit. In 2018, seven out of 100 people who tried to quit smoking succeeded, according to the CDC. However every time you try to quit, you’re one step closer to living a healthier life for yourself and your family.

Preya Patel is a family medicine resident at Jefferson Health Northeast.