There are several factors to consider before buying an electronic cigarette. First, it's important to note that neither the FDA nor the WHO consider electronic cigarettes to be an effective method of quitting smoking.

If you decide you'd like to try out electronic cigarettes, you'll need to choose between disposable e-cigarettes or a starter kit. Many experts and long-time electronic cigarette users say that disposable cigarettes are a poor value. These models can cost between $10 and $20 and cannot be reused. They typically last about the equivalent of one pack of cigarettes. Full starter kits range from $30 to $150. For more information about e-cigarette kits, see that section of the report.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering electronic cigarettes:

  • Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is considered to be addictive by the FDA.
  • E-cigarettes may contain known carcinogens and toxic chemicals, according to a study by the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation, Division of Pharmaceutical Analysis (DPA).
  • Electronic cigarettes have not been approved by the FDA as an effective smoking-cessation device.
  • Evaluate cost. While the upfront cost of various models typically varies between $60-$90 (though some brands cost as little as $30), it's important to also factor in how many batteries the starter kit has, whether it includes a USB adaptor or wall charger and how many cartridges are in the kit. You'll also want to look at the cost of refill cartridges, which can vary dramatically from brand to brand.
  • Consider battery life. Replacement batteries can be pricey and set you back as much as $50. Look for brands that are backed by warranties to avoid disappointment later.
  • Check the return policy. If you haven't tried electronic cigarettes yet, be sure the store you choose has a good return policy in case the product is defective or you simply don't like it. Customer service is also an important consideration -- see the sources section for user reviews.

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