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What we have to say about your health and well being
17
Feb 2015
Practical Advice- E- Cigarettes
  • Electronic cigarettes are devices that deliver nicotine by heating and vapourising a solution that typically contains nicotine, propylene glycol and/or glycerol, and flavourings.
  • Electronic cigarette use is increasing in smokers wanting to quit but particularly among smokers who want to reduce the health risks of smoking or to save money
  • Electronic cigarettes are not currently licensed for smoking cessation; they do have to comply with consumer protection legislation.
  • The quality of electronic cigarettes is improving. With experience, users can achieve overall blood nicotine levels similar to those achieved with smoking conventional cigarettes; although it takes longer to reach these levels and they still receive less nicotine per puffing session
  • Electronic cigarettes can reduce urges to smoke and can help smokers quit, although these data are not as robust as those for licensed stop smoking medicines
  • Short-term exposure to electronic cigarettes appears to be associated with few serious risks. Mouth and throat irritation are the most commonly reported symptoms and these appear to subside over time. There are no high quality safety data regarding long-term electronic cigarette use but there is no a-priori reason to expect that such use may pose risks anywhere near the risks associated with smoking
  • Low levels of toxicants and carcinogens have been detected in electronic cigarette liquid and vapour although these are much lower than those found in conventional cigarette smoke and are not considered to pose any passive inhalation risk
  • Useful Advice on the use of electronic cigarettes:
    • electronic cigarettes can provide some of the nicotine that would have otherwise been obtained from smoking regular cigarettes
    • electronic cigarettes are not a magic cure, but some people find them helpful for quitting, cutting down their nicotine intake and managing temporary abstinence
    • there is a wide range of electronic cigarettes available and clients may need to try various brands, flavours and nicotine dosages before they find a brand that they like
    • electronic cigarette use is not exactly like smoking and users may need to experiment and learn to use them effectively (e.g. longer ‘drags’ are required and a number of short puffs may be needed initially to activate the ‘vapouriser’ and improve nicotine delivery)
    • although some health risks from electronic cigarette use may yet emerge, these are likely to be, at worst, only a small fraction of the risks of smoking. This is because electronic cigarettes do not contain combustion chemicals which cause lung and heart disease and cancer

Concurrent (dual) use of conventional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes has been associated with greater motivation to quit, and to a reduction of smoke intake from regular cigarettes. This may be associated with health benefits, although the extent of any such benefits remains to be determined

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