Boston University School of Public Health study
A study done by researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health in 2010 concluded that electronic cigarettes were safer than real cigarettes and may aid in breaking the habit of smoking. The researchers said that while further studies on electronic cigarettes are needed, “few, if any, chemicals at levels detected in electronic cigarettes raise serious health concerns.” Electronic cigarettes were found to be “much safer” than traditional tobacco ones, and had a level of toxicity similar to existing nicotine replacements.
In the report, the amount of carcinogens in electronic cigarettes was found to be up to 1,000 times fewer than regular cigarettes. It also said early evidence shows that electronic cigarettes may help people to stop smoking by simulating a tobacco cigarette.
Manufacturers promote electronic cigarettes as a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes by claiming that most of the harmful material produced by the combustion of tobacco in traditional cigarettes is not present in the atomized liquid of electronic cigarettes. Despite claims that electronic cigarettes are safer, because they contain no carcinogenic substances, manufactures include warning labels with their products, because they contain nicotine.
According to Cancer Research UK, “For a smoker, the health hazards of continuing to smoke greatly outweigh any potential risks of using nicotine replacement therapy”. It may be worth noting, however, that while electronic cigarettes are purported to deliver nicotine to the user in a manner similar to that of a Nicotrol inhaler, no electronic cigarette has yet been approved as a medicinal NRT product or provided the necessary clinical testing for such approval. Moreover, doubts have been raised as to whether electronic cigarettes actually deliver any substantial amount of nicotine at all.
Though manufacturers have marketed electronic cigarettes as a way to curtail an addiction to nicotine, international health organizations have stated they may not be marketed as a cessation device. A number of regulatory agencies have issued warnings regarding the health effects of these products. The recently formed Electronic Cigarette Association aims to eliminate unsubstantiated health claims made by electronic cigarette companies, and those companies that wish to participate in the association must agree to refrain from making such claims. In a recent online survey from November 2009 among 303 smokers, it was found that e-cigarette substitution for tobacco cigarettes resulted in reduced perceived health problems, when compared to smoking conventional cigarettes (less cough, higher ability to do exercise, and a better sense of taste and smell).