What are electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) came onto the market in 2007 and are battery operated devices that deliver nicotine via vapor. These differ from the traditional cigarette as there is no tobacco in the e-cig compared to its traditional counterpart.
Great unknowns about e-cigs:
- Long-term risks associated with the inhalation of nicotine vapor
- Exactly how much nicotine is delivered per inhalation
- If there is proven benefit to using these products
- What exactly is in the e-cigarette nicotine cartridge (many of these are manufactured in China and under no quality control)
A study published in the journal of Addictive Behaviors found that people who use e-cigs in order to quit smoking either became hooked on the e-cig or go back to using traditional cigarettes.
A study published in The Lancet found no statistically significant difference concerning the use of the e-cig compared the nicotine patch in terms of smoking cessation benefits.
It is believed that the use of the e-cig creates an illusion on behalf of the smoker as they think they are doing something positive for themselves. In reality, the individual is maintaining their smoking habit. Editors of The Lancet consider the e-cig “a moral quandary”. Other researchers agree that converting millions of smokers to the e-cig won’t necessarily lead to a cleaner, healthier environment as individuals are still addicted to nicotine.
Take Home Message:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not find a therapeutic purpose or benefit to the electronic cigarette at this time.