With so much conflicting evidence, it's difficult to know whether e-cigarettes should be viewed as a safer alternative to combustible tobacco products or a gateway into the more health-harming habit of cigarette smoking.
On the plus side, a recent Annals of Internal Medicine cross-sectional study found that former smokers who only use e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy are substantially less likely to be exposed to carcinogens and toxins than those who continue to smoke. And a recent Tobacco Control report suggests that switching from cigarettes to "vaping" could prevent millions of premature deaths over a 10-year period.
However, on the downside, e-cigarettes don't appear to be completely without risk. For example, a University of Pittsburgh study published last year found two known carcinogens, o-toluidine and 2-naphthylamine, in the urine of e-cigarette users. Vaping may also serve as a gateway into cigarette smoking for youths and adolescents, a major National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report speculates.
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Cite this: How Do You Advise Your Patients About e-Cigarettes? - Medscape - Jan 31, 2018.