Electronic cigarettes are rapidly growing in popularity and may even eclipse traditional cigarettes in the future, barring any restrictive regulations.1 E-cigarettes were developed in China just over a decade ago, so the long-term health consequences are not yet known. The current consensus is that e-cigarettes are generally safer to the user as well as those exposed secondhand than traditional cigarettes. However, the devices still emit toxins that may be harmful to the health of the user as well as those nearby.
There are three categories of e-cigarette users: experimenters, dual-users and former smokers. Research has found that experimenters are more likely to try traditional cigarettes, which could lead to an increased prevalence in cigarette use. Because the liquid used in e-cigarettes can contain flavours that are appealing to children, there is concern that young people could become experimenters, leading to increased nicotine addiction in minors.
Population-based studies on the users of e-cigarettes conclude that dual-users are the most frequent users of e-cigarettes.2 Dual-users are those who continue to use traditional tobacco cigarettes but occasionally use e-cigarettes for convenience in places where e-cigarettes are allowed but traditional cigarettes are banned. These users may also be easing their way into e-cigarettes in an attempt to quit smoking traditional cigarettes.
E-cigarettes may be used as a smoking cessation device, especially since the liquid used in the devices can contain varying amounts of nicotine. Studies regarding the effectiveness of e-cigarettes in smoking cessation have produced conflicting results, though the World Health Organization (WHO) maintains there is insufficient evidence that e-cigarettes will decrease the prevalence of traditional cigarettes. Read More +