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Are e-cigarettes a gateway to smoking or a pathway to quitting?

8/14/2015 - British dental journal

Over recent years there has been a massive increase in the usage of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) by the general public. There are mixed views regarding the safety and efficacy of e-cigs, even among healthcare professionals. While some individuals view e-cigs as a public health concern, others recommend them as a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes for smokers who are willing to quit. Since e-cigs are a new phenomena, many clinicians are unaware of their impact on users (known as vapers), who may seek medical advice regarding their use. This clinical review aims to educate healthcare professionals regarding the advantages and disadvantages of e-cigarettes and to discuss whether e-cigarettes help users quit smoking or whether they renormalise smoking. This article will describe the contents of e-cigs and how they are used, the history, advantages, disadvantages and then balance the positive and negative aspects of their use. Due to the lack of long-term follow up of the health effects of e-cigarettes, caution is advised with their use.
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