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How electronic cigarettes work

February 19, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST
Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigs,” are a tobacco-free alternative to cigarettes designed to look and feel like traditional cigarettes. Companies are advertising them as cheaper options and offering starter kits that come with cigarettes, batteries, cartridges and a charger starting at about $50. Each liquid nicotine container lasts about 200 to 300 puffs, which can be equal to 10 to 30 cigarettes. The liquid nicotine also comes in a variety of flavors, which critics worry will attract children. The Food and Drug Administration warns that though e-cigs come without health warnings, limited testing has revealed traces of toxic chemicals and carcinogens.

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