Electronic cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, but the unapproved and virtually unstudied products have government officials and medical experts worried, The New York Times reported.
Safety claims about e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine, are unfounded since their components have never been tested.
"We basically don't know anything about them. They've never been tested for safety or efficacy to help people stop smoking," Dr. Richard D. Hurt, director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at the Mayo Clinic, told the Times.
Novelty, ease of access and enticing flavors may tempt children to use e-cigarettes, public health officials worry.
"It looks like a cigarette and is marketed as a cigarette. There's nothing that prevents youth from getting addicted to nicotine," Jonathon P. Winickoff, an associate professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children and chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Tobacco Consortium, told the Times.