E-cigarettes are likely to be much less harmful than conventional cigarettes, an analysis of current scientific research suggests.
Scientists argue replacing conventional cigarettes with electronic ones could reduce smoking-related deaths even though long-term effects are unknown.
In the journal Addiction, researchers suggest e-cigarettes should face less stringent regulations than tobacco.
But experts warn encouraging their use without robust evidence is “reckless”.
Instead of inhaling tobacco smoke, e-cigarette users breathe in vaporised liquid nicotine.
About two million people use electronic cigarettes in the UK, and their popularity is growing worldwide.
The World Health Organization and national authorities are considering policies to restrict their sales, advertising and use.
An international team examined 81 studies, looking at:
- safety concerns
- chemicals in the liquids and vapours
- use among smokers and non-smokers
Scientists say risks to users and passive bystanders are far less than those posed by cigarette smoke, but caution that the effects on people with respiratory conditions are not fully understood
And they say electronic cigarettes contain a few of the toxins seen in tobacco smoke, but at much lower levels.
They report there is no current evidence that children move from experimenting with e-cigarettes to regular use, and conclude the products do not encourage young people to go on to conventional smoking habits.
And their analysis suggests switching to e-cigarettes can help tobacco smokers quit or reduce cigarette consumption.
Full article at http://www.bbc.com/news/health-28554456