Electronic cigarettes are largely unregulated in the U.S., but a five-year study at UW-Madison could change that.
The UW Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention has been awarded a $3.7 million federal grant to study e-cigs over the next five years, with the results added into the decision making process by regulatory and health agencies.
"This research will allow us to examine the public health effects of smoking and vaping during this critical period of emerging policy discussions," said Dr. Megan Piper, the center's associate director of research, in a university news release on Wednesday.
Electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, but instead are devices that allow the user to inhale nicotine vapor.
A study last year by the University of Michigan showed more teens were using e-cigs than conventional cigarettes or any other tobacco product.
The $3.7 million grant is from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The research will look at the relationship between vaping, or inhaling nicotine vapor, and nicotine dependence, changes in rates of smoking conventional cigarettes, health outcomes and attempts to quit smoking.
The center will recruit two groups of people to participate in the study, including 150 people who just smoke cigarettes and 250 people who smoke cigarettes and vape e-cigs.