How Do You Advise Your Patients About e-Cigarettes?

January 31, 2018

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.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.