Fewer adults in the U.S. are smoking cigarettes, but the rate of e-cigarettes is increasing, according to information released from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. CNN reported cigarette smoking has reached a historic low.

The information comes from a biannual survey. CNN said 11% of adults reported smoking, which is a decline from 2020 and 2021, when 12.5% of adults reported smoking. In the 1940s, around half of adults said they smoked and over time, that number has declined.

While cigarette smoking decreased, use of e-cigarettes increased.

The Associated Press said use of e-cigarettes has increased to 1 in 17 adults. “E-cigarette use rose to nearly 6% last year, from about 4.5% the year before, according to survey data.”

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What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are battery operated devices which release nicotine via an aerosol, according to the CDC. “E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called ‘e-cigs,’ ‘e-hookahs,’ ‘mods,’ ‘vape pens,’ ‘vapes,’ ‘tank systems,’ and ‘electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).’”

Even though e-cigarettes may be commonly touted as products to aid in cessation of smoking, the Food and Drug Administration said they may not have that effect. “To date, no e-cigarette has been approved as a cessation device or authorized to make a modified risk claim,” according to the FDA’s website. The FDA said more research is needed into these products.

Is vaping safe?

Vaping poses some health risks. The Cleveland Clinic said vaping is still inhaling dangerous particles into your lungs. Nicotine is addictive and continuing to consume it can create an addiction to that particular chemical.

About nicotine, Johns Hopkins Medicine said, “Nicotine is a toxic substance. It raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack.” There’s not enough research on the chemicals one ingests with vaping and they’re “probably not safe,” according to Johns Hopkins.

Another concern John Hopkins Medicine said arises with vaping is the prevalence of use among youth, saying that a “CDC report says disposable e-cigarette use has increased 1,000% among high school students and 400% among middle school students since 2019.”

Are e-cigarettes safer than smoking?

In some ways, but e-cigarettes are still not considered safe. According to the American Heart Association, nicotine isn’t a safe chemical to consume, vaping can contribute to lung issues and “e-cigarette vapor includes potentially harmful substances such as diacetyl (a chemical linked to a serious lung disease), cancer-causing chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals such as nickel, tin and lead. Users breathe in these toxic contaminants, and non-users nearby risk secondhand exposure.”

Another issue the American Heart Association said is concerning when it comes to vaping is it may renormalize smoking. Even though smoking has declined in the U.S., the association said it’s one of the leading causes of preventable death. Vaping may potentially lead to smoking becoming popular again, which leaves health officials concerned.