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Are e-cigarettes a safer alternative to smoking?

Posted by:

10 February, 2014


Preston W, Ayre S (2014) Are e-cigarettes a safer alternative to smoking? Nursing Times; 110: 7, 20-21.


“The safety of electronic cigarettes has received considerable attention, as people appear to be increasingly using them as an alternative to tobacco.

“Electronic nicotine delivery devices (ENDDs) - commonly called e-cigarettes - are electronic devices that mimic real cigarettes. Operated using chargeable batteries, they deliver nicotine through vapour rather than smoke. They usually look like cigarettes, and reproduce the glowing light at the end of a cigarette when it is inhaled, and steam that mimics smoke when it is exhaled. The nicotine content varies and they are made in several strengths.”


What do you think?

  • Are e-cigarettes a safe alternative to smoking?
  • Can e-cigarettes encourage people to start smoking?
  • Are these devices effective in helping a person stop smoking completely?

Readers' comments (1)

  • The harmful part of cigarettes is not the nicotine, it is all the other poisons that come along with it such as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and cyanide.
    The nicotine is one of the addictive elements of cigarettes (as well as the social, and habit aspects).

    If a delivery system such as e-cigs can cut out the harmful components while still giving the 'hit' from the nicotine, then I would venture they are safer. However, the attraction to younger people and their relative inexpensiveness could cause more people to take up 'vaping', as it is known. Particularly as the flavours tend to be 'sweet' flavours.

    I use an electronic cigarette and I find I use it less that if I were smoking cigarettes; my clothes and skin don't smell of smoke and I feel healthier and less out of breath.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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