Nicotine isn’t the only thing e-cigs deliver; they also deliver formaldehyde, a carcinogen. It seems equally fair to call them Electronic Formaldehyde Delivery Systems.
Do manufacturers intentionally put formaldehyde in e-cigs? No, they don’t. But there’s some fundamental chemistry happening that can generate formaldehyde. E-cigs often use propylene glycol or glycerol to help transport nicotine and flavors and to create the big vapor cloud. We’ve known for a long time that when we heat these so-called carrier fluids they can transform into formaldehyde.Sure enough, when we measure what’s coming out of an e-cigarette, we have found formaldehyde. Sometimes, a lot of it. A letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine caught widespread attention in 2015 when its authors reported that they had found emissions of formaldehyde from e-cigs. There was some initial push back from skeptics who claimed that the e-cig vaping conditions in the research used too high of a voltage (an actual user, they argued, would be deterred from puffing hard enough to generate the excessive formaldehyde because it would taste bad). Of note, one author of that critique receives funding from a group that has accepted money from tobacco companies, and another received money from an e-cig company.
And as for the concern that they are acting as a gateway to real smoking - yes of course there is good concern they work that way in the US, at least:
Consider this: 22 percent of eighth-grade smokers used e-cigs first. That’s one in five — an astounding number of kids. The addictive nicotine in e-cigs is contributing to the next generation of traditional cigarette users. Will we then recommend that they use e-cigs to help them quit? This is the opposite of a virtuous cycle.The groups opposing the legalisation of nicotine producing e-cigarettes in Australia have some pretty good arguments going for them.
Although many states now restrict e-cig sales for those under 18, it’s clear that kids are finding ways to access e-cigs. And in my opinion, e-cigs are being marketed toward this age group. Who else is interested in puffing on an “Alien Blood”-flavored e-cig?
Meanwhile, libertarians can continue sucking away unhealthfully instead of just quitting via patches or whatever other aids have long been adequate. Bit of the old "evolution in action", perhaps?