Electronic cigarettes, non-tobacco devices that release vapor instead of smoke, have not only been found to be safer than tobacco cigarettes, they may also serve as a device to assist smokers trying to quit, according to a recent study in the Journal of Public Health Policy.
The e-cigs could potentially be used as part of a harm reduction plan, aimed more towards reducing cigarette use slowly, rather than advocating complete smoking cessation immediately. However, this is not the preferred approach to help smokers quit in some countries, according to study authors.
"Health advocates have been reluctant to endorse a harm reduction approach out of fear that tobacco companies cannot be trusted to produce and market products that will reduce the risks associated with tobacco use," researchers said.
The study, which analyzed the ingredients in the cartridges, found that they did not include any of the toxic elements and carcinogens found in tobacco cigarettes, according to one e-cig manufacturer. Researchers concluded that e-cigs may serve a benefit in helping smokers reduce their tobacco intake.
Those who are able to quit smoking may benefit, not only from decreased risk of morbidity and mortality, as the study suggests, but also with eligibility for lower health and life insurance premium rates.