E-Cigarettes are Less Harmful Than Conventional Cigarettes

First Posted: Aug 01, 2014 04:27 AM EDT

A major scientific review states that e-cigarettes are less harmful to users or bystanders as compared to conventional cigarettes.

Researchers at the Queen Mary University, London, reviewed current scientific evidence on the safety of e-cigarettes and found that e-cigarettes were safer than conventional cigarettes for both users and bystanders. E-cigarettes also have fewer toxins.

Over the past few years, e-cigarettes have gained considerable popularity. The public health researchers are investigating the potential harms and benefits of e-cigarettes; the regulatory bodies are debating whether to regulate the use of e-cigarettes.

The finding was based on the review of 81 studies that focused on the safety concerns of e-cigarettes, chemicals present in liquid and vapors used for these cigarettes as well as the popularity among smokers and non-smokers, according to HNGN.

Although the long term health effects of e-cigarette remains unknown, the review led by Professor Peter Hajek suggests that the current evidence does not justify regulating e-cigarettes more strictly.

Hajek comments: "The evidence we currently have is clear: e-cigarettes should be allowed to compete against conventional cigarettes in the marketplace. Health care professionals may advise smokers who are unwilling to cease nicotine use to switch to e-cigarettes. Smokers who have not managed to stop with current treatments may also benefit from switching to e-cigarettes."

There was no evidence highlighting that the vapor produced by e-cigarettes is harmful to users or even the bystanders when compared to conventional cigarette smoke.  There is no nicotine in these cigarettes that could take a toll on people's health. There was strong evidence that indicated e-cigarettes helped users to quit smoking or reduce their consumption, according to Health Day.

Martin Dockrell, at Public Health England, told BBC, "Increasing numbers of smokers are turning to these devices as an aid to quitting and there is emerging evidence that they are effective for this purpose. In order to maximise the benefits to public health while managing the risks, regulation of e-cigarettes needs to be proportionate and designed to ensure the availability of safe and effective products, and to prevent the marketing of e-cigarettes to young people and non-smokers."

The study was partly funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the journal, Addiction.

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