Electronic Cigarettes (E-Cigs)

Views of Aficionados and Clinical/Public Health Perspectives

J. Foulds; S. Veldheer; A. Berg


Int J Clin Pract. 2011;65(10):1037-1042. 

In This Article

Clinical Perspective

It is likely that before such research evidence is available, practising clinicians will begin to see patients who are either already using e-cigs or are considering using them for smoking cessation and may ask for advice. Current smokers who are interested in quitting smoking should be strongly directed towards evidence-based treatments (counselling, and approved medicines like nicotine replacement, bupropion or varenicline), rather than to e-cigs.[19] Patients who have already switched to e-cigs should be informed that although it is highly likely that e-cigs are much less harmful to health than cigarettes, we do not know enough about e-cigs to recommend them to patients. However, if the patient perceives that the e-cig is helping them to stay off cigarettes and is not reporting any health problems likely attributable to the e-cig, then the focus should be on staying smoke-free rather than e-cig free. The health risks from smoking are large and are known with certainty. Comparatively, the health risks from e-cig use are likely much smaller (if any) and temporarily switching to e-cigs will likely yield a large health benefit. Even in this scenario, however, it would be prudent to make clear that the effects of e-cigs are largely unknown and that the most important thing for the patient's health is complete abstinence from tobacco smoking.


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