Isn’t It Time We Ditch the Term “E-cigarette”?

Isn't it time we ditched the term e-Cigarette?
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“E-cigarette” and “eCig” have become interchangeable terms used to categorize vaporizers. It’s about time we realized the dangers that are associated with the term e-cigarette.

The many people wise enough to have made the switch to vaporizers have seen the benefits on quality of life.

How is it possible that scientifically proven, life-saving devices have been associated alongside products that knowingly cause harm and disease?

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The term e-cigarette was coined early in the vape revolution. This was back when people were still trying to get the word out about these life-changing products.

Hon Lik first invented the electronic cigarette in 2003.

Lik quit smoking after his father died of lung cancer, and he was determined to invent a product that could prevent people from having the same experience. Lik knew how influential his invention could be, but might be surprised by the backlash the products have received by some governments and communities around the globe.

Hon Lik The Term E-cigarette

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At first, marketing this product with an association to cigarettes made sense.

The product was intended to replace and mimic cigarettes.

“Hmm, let’s see, how can we market these devices as an effective means to quit smoking cigarettes? Ah Ha! Let’s call them cigarettes – except we put an “e” in front so people think it’s new and electronic!”

We have gotten what we asked for. The message about vaporizers has spread. In its wake, a more pressing question has risen.

Is this the message we wanted to send?

From an awareness standpoint, calling a vape an “e-cigarette” worked brilliantly. However, when it comes to the reputation and livelihood of the vaporizer community – it may have been more damaging than we realized.


People want to quit smoking. Despite the enjoyment, people don’t want the risks that come with it. It makes sense to market a new product based on wants. It seems terminology has come full circle to discredit the reputation of vaporizers in the market.

Ditch The Term E-Cigarette

Just look at the products available to at your local drug store – nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches.  CVS states on their website that, “Less than 5% of the 13 million smokers trying to quit each year will succeed,” and “nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products can ease your body safely off of nicotine by releasing controlled amounts of nicotine slowly.”

We have seen numerous studies, mentioned even on Fox News, that have shown evidence on the effectiveness of vaporizers as a means to quit smoking.

The original marketing idea for vaporizers must be edited as awareness for vaporizers has expanded. There is a clear stigma surrounding vaporizers, and most of it is based on nonsense.

The pharmaceutical industry, big tobacco, and lobbyists have all used the term e-cigarette to argue that vaporizers are tobacco products. This distinction has led to much debate over the proper classification of vaporizer products.

Ultimately, the term e-cigarette has furthered the agenda of those against the success of a proven harm-reduction device. 


On August 8, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule that regulated all tobacco products. This regulation deemed that vapor products are considered “tobacco products” under the Family Smoking Prevention Act and the Tobacco Control Act.

According to the FDA, nearly every product related to vaporizers are considered a component of tobacco products. This made all vape related products subject to regulation by the agency.

After a two-year countdown is completed on August 8, 2018, fear of a prohibition on 99.9% of vaporizer products that were not regulated by the FDA under the ruling for tobacco products was spreading.


Should Non-Tobacco Products Be Considered Tobacco Products?

Jacob Meyer stated at National Review that even nicotine-free and synthetic (non-tobacco) nicotine products will also be considered tobacco products.

While regulation is very important for product safety and validation, this specific piece of legislation looked to damn the vaping industry. Forcing significantly decreased product availability and putting many out of businesses.

The most baffling part – this power play distinctly ignored the context within the act itself. This ruling came despite the Tobacco Control Act stating specifically that the act is limited to products that are “made or derived from tobacco.”

It seems that the use of the term e-cigarette may have contributed to the argument that vape products are intended or expected to be used with a tobacco product. The term for the devices contains the word “cigarette”, which is used effectively as an argument for the validation of this ruling.

The Good News

The FDA ruling deeming vaporizer products as equivalent to tobacco products in 2016 hit the vaporizer community hard – justifiably so. The vaporizer community was, and remains, baffled by the direct cigarette association narrative the administration continues to push.

The fight to save vaporizers has been a massive topic of dissent within the community as petitions and many congressmen have gotten involved.

Despite evidence that vaporizers are over 95% safer than analog cigarettes and debunking the gateway myth, many public health officials opposed the devices they claim are menaces to children and a threat to the preexisting industry.

FDA Ruling Delayed

In the past week, we’ve been delighted to hear that the FDA delayed the ruling that would have limited the vaporizer market!

This is a major win for the Vape community, and the FDA seems to be recognizing how these devices have impacted tobacco-related deaths in the USA, which now totals about 480,000 people a year.

We now have an opportunity to counter the mindset that vaping and cigarettes are the same, starting by discarding misleading descriptions such as “e-cigarettes” and taking on the faulty cigarette association. 


The Term E-Cigarette

Vapor Vs. Smoke

We have stressed over the years the clear differences between smoke and vapor. This distinction is incredibly important to understand as we push forward with navigating vaporizer regulation.

Vapor is defined when a substance becomes gaseous at a lower temperature than the point of combustion. The biggest point is that vaporization does not create any new compounds when vaped.

There is no tar, unknown chemicals or dangerous VOCs involved! 

“Vape Smoke” Is Misleading

The term “vape smoke” is thrown around often, but is inherently misleading. Smoke is the result of combustion. With combustion comes the introduction of new chemicals through oxidation. Fire creates smoke.

[Tweet “There is no combustion involved with vaping. No combustion = no smoke. Period.”]
So, why would vaporizer products be considered in the same category as smoking or tobacco products if no smoke or tobacco is involved in the vaping process? 

It shouldn’t.


With regulations categorizing vaporizers as tobacco products, the negative stigma surrounding the vape community, and the association of cigarettes and smoking with vaping devices…

Is it time to ditch the term, “e-cigarette”?”

Despite the insurmountable evidence and research showing the promise of vaporizer devices, there is a cloud over the industry. Obviously big business and industry play a role, but the issue goes much deeper than this. The research suggests self-inflicted wounds may be at play by buying into the terminology deemed by the FDA.

Are We Perpetuating Our Own False Stereotypes With Terminology?

You hear people, smokers, and non-smokers alike, say “it’s just as bad” or “why not just smoke a cigarette if you’re going to smoke”.

It’s not just as bad. It’s not even close.

Most crucially, this sentiment misses the point entirely. Vaping IS NOT smoking. There is no flame, no combustion, no tar and about 4,000 fewer chemicals.

Pretty obvious distinctions, right?

[Tweet “Vaping is not smoking. No flame, no fire. Stop comparing it to cigarettes.”]

Why should anyone have to apologize for their accomplishments? The stigma surrounding e-cigarettes is often so negative that we’re wondering if this isn’t partly because the very term we use to describe the community has “cigarette” in it.

We refuse to play into the hands of people who misrepresent products that have the potential to save millions of lives.

We hope you will too.

The vaporizer industry stands for something with real, quantifiable influence on world health.

The power of innovation, technology, harm-reduction, and culture have all been magnified by Lik’s invention. It’s truly amazing to see how influential vaporizers have become. They can be even more effective if we fight against the facade of cigarette association. 

[Tweet “Vaporizers are not cigarettes, and shouldn’t be associated in that way.”]

So, what do you think? Is the term itself harmful to the narrative and future of the vape community? Should we ditch the term e-cigarette? How can we help to prevent cigarette association?

We’d love to get your thoughts!


Get involved and let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Gina King is the brand manager for Veppo International, the leading brand offering a robust selection of vape pen vaporizers, e-liquid and e-cigars. Over the past 6 years, Veppo has provided more than 108,000 customers a friendly alternative to cigarettes. More info at

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