E-cigarettes are devices designed to mimic cigarettes. They are battery-operated products designed to deliver nicotine, flavor and other chemicals. Some people consider e-cigarettes to be a potential aid in quitting, while some people who have already quit smoking see them as a temptation to resume a habit they fought hard to ditch. A new Scotland study has suggested that consumers are unclear about the risks or benefits of e-cigarettes.
Researchers interviewed 64 smokers and found little consensus about the potential benefits and harms of e-cigarettes, which may reflect division in the medical community on the appropriateness of promoting e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking. Most study participants viewed smoking as a form of addiction and believed willpower played a strong role in quitting. Almost all of the study subjects had tried e-cigarettes at least once. They generally viewed e-cigarettes as distinct from other nicotine replacement products like patches or gum that are designed to help people quit smoking.
AdvertisementAs general practitioners give nicotine alternatives to smokers trying to quit, the participants tended to think of these as medical products. However, with e-cigarettes people were less clear about what their intended purpose or correct use might be, though they were seen as less directly tied to smoking cessation than patches or gum.
Senior author Amanda Amos from the University of Edinburgh Medical School said, "Because e-cigarettes are relatively new products we are only beginning to learn about the health risks."
The study is published in Tobacco Control.