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Can Electronic Cigarettes Really Help?

Louis News 14.2.13

The amount of people who use an electronic cigarette is expected to rise to a million by the end of the year. Many believe them to be a good alternative to smoking a traditional cigarette whilst others think they imitate the real deal too much and may be unsafe to use.

The BBC recently reported that when visiting a busy pub in Manchester they were confronted by a rather shocking sight.  At one table it looked like a group of people were smoking but in fact they were using an electronic cigarette. 

A lady user who was inhaling on an e-cig at that time stated it had helped her because she was trying to quit and the electronic cigarette makes her feel like she is having a cigarette. She had tried patches and inhalators but they had failed to help her. 

An Electronic Cigarette comes in 3 parts, the lithium battery, atomizer, and nicotine filled cartridge.  It works by inhaling on the cartridge (the mouthpiece) which pulls the e-liquid through to the heating coil inside the atomizer which when heated vaporises.  This vapour is the substance which you inhale.     

Professor John Britton, who leads the tobacco advisory group for the Royal College of Physicians states: “Nicotine itself is not a particular hazardous drug.” Nicotine is the ingredient within electronic cigarettes that will come under regulation. He further explains the benefits of the British population making the switch from tobacco cigarettes: “If all the smokers in Britain stopped smoking cigarettes and started smoking e-cigarettes we would save 5 million deaths in people who are alive today. It’s a massive potential public health prize.”

However there are concerns about them being readily available to children to purchase. At the moment there are very few restrictions on electronic cigarette advertising.  Critics are saying that the adverts are glamorising a product that mimics smoking.

So the question is ‘are e-cigarettes safe?’

Dr Vivienne Nathanson from the British Medical Association (BMA) states: “The simple answer is we don’t know.”  He continued: “it’s going to take some time before we do know because we need to seem them in use and study very carefully what the effects of electronic cigarettes are.” 



14th February 2013, 16:32