Cigarette smoking is associated with many health risks and complications. Despite smokers' strong desire to quit, most battle with nicotine withdrawal and relapse. Because electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) do not contain tobacco, some believe them to be safer than traditional cigarettes and have used them as a replacement or adjunct nicotine source to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Electronic cigarettes are designed to mimic traditional cigarettes and expel a vapor composed of nicotine, water, glycerol, propylene glycol and other flavorings. Many e-cigarette companies use appealing platforms, which promise smoking cessation and harm reduction, to attract consumers; however, several studies have found e-cigarettes actually contain ingredients that are harmful to one's health. Studies have demonstrated that the use of e-cigarettes can be toxic to patients' health if patients do not research the products they intend to purchase. The flavoring of e-cigarettes may be a major contributor to e-cigarette cytotoxicity. If flavoring and other cytotoxic contents of e-cigarettes can be eliminated, e-cigarettes may be useful in smoking reduction and cessation. Many clinicians today support traditional forms of nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation rather than e-cigarettes. Due to the lack of regulation and studies by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, e-cigarettes may not be as safe as users may perceive and should not be a preferred product for smoking cessation therapy until they are further studied and regulated.
Wagala L, Hopkins A, Lennartz N, Heilbronner B, Long BL, DiPietro Mager N. Health Risks and Emerging Trends with the Use of Electronic Cigarettes. PAW Review. 2016 Jan 01; 7(1):Article 6 28-34 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol7/iss1/6. Free full text article.