Current evidence suggests benefits of e-cigarettes outweigh harms

July 31, 2014

A major scientific review of available research on the use, content, and safety of e-cigarettes has concluded that – although long-term health effects of e-cigarette use are unknown – compared with conventional cigarettes they are likely to be much less harmful to users or bystanders.

The review of current evidence about , carried out by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and published today by the scientific journal Addiction, concludes that despite gaps in the knowledge which require further research, the current evidence about e-cigarettes does not justify regulating them more strictly than, or even as strictly as, conventional cigarettes. Regulatory decisions will provide the greatest benefit when they are proportional, based on evidence, and incorporate a rational appraisal of likely risks and benefits.

The scientific review was conducted by an international team of leading tobacco researchers led by QMUL's Professor Peter Hajek. Hajek comments: "The 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."

Electronic cigarettes have gained considerable popularity over the past few years. While public health researchers investigate their potential harms (reducing motivation to stop smoking, providing a gateway to smoking) and benefits (giving smokers safer access to nicotine and reducing or even virtually eliminating cigarette use), regulatory bodies around the world are currently debating whether, and how heavily, to regulate e-cigarettes. Their verdicts likely will feature among the key public health decisions of our time.

Explore further: Smokers slow to embrace routine use of electronic cigarettes

More information: Addiction, 109: DOI: 10.1111/add.12659.

Related Stories

Smokers slow to embrace routine use of electronic cigarettes

June 4, 2014
Sales of electronic cigarettes in the U.S. reached nearly $1.8 billion in 2013, but few of the smokers who tried the product have made the permanent switch from regular tobacco cigarettes, finds a new study published in the ...

Lung groups: Governments should limit or ban use of E-cigarettes

July 10, 2014
(HealthDay)—Governments should ban or limit the use of electronic cigarettes until more is known about their health effects, say experts from the world's leading lung organizations.

E-cigarettes in Europe used mostly by the young, current smokers, would-be quitters

June 16, 2014
Most Europeans who have tried electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are young, current smokers, or those who recently tried quitting regular cigarettes, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). ...

More than two million now regularly using electronic cigarettes in Britain

April 29, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—The number of adults in Britain who use electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has tripled over the past two years, from an estimated 700,000 users in 2012 to 2.1 million in 2014, according to survey data ...

E-cigarette use not linked to quitting smoking, study finds

March 24, 2014
People who use electronic cigarettes do not report higher rates of quitting than regular cigarette smokers, according to a US study out Monday.

Singaporeans defy ban on e-cigarettes

April 25, 2014
Singaporeans are defying a ban on electronic cigarettes despite stiff fines for distributors and smugglers, health authorities said Friday.

Recommended for you

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...

One e-cigarette with nicotine leads to adrenaline changes in nonsmokers' hearts

September 20, 2017
A new UCLA study found that healthy nonsmokers experienced increased adrenaline levels in their heart after one electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) with nicotine but there were no increased adrenaline levels when the study ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.