- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2014

President Obama has admitted to smoking weed and cigarettes in years past, but he’s never puffed on an electronic cigarette.

Asked whether the president has ever tried the products, commonly known as e-cigarettes and presented as a much healthier alternative to traditional smokes, White House press secretary Jay Carney said he’s never seen anyone in the West Wing use them.

“The president gave up smoking and he has not, to my knowledge [used an e-cigarette]. I’ve never seen one on campus,” Mr. Carney told reporters Thursday. “I haven’t seen anyone pull one out.”

The Food and Drug Administration currently is arguing it should have the authority to regulate e-cigarettes in much the same way it oversees cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and related products.

Meanwhile, the American e-cigarette industry continues to explode, with sales reaching $1.5 billion in 2013, according to Consumer Reports.

E-cigarettes allow smokers to breathe out vaporized nicotine and other chemicals. The products are used to mimic the physical act of smoking a cigarette without many of the requisite health problems and other side effects.

Because they emit water vapor rather than harmful secondhand smoke, e-cigarettes often are used indoors at bars, restaurants and other establishments.