Electronic cigarettes

Electronic cigarettes, or “e-cigarettes” were reportedly invented by a Chinese pharmacist who wanted to “find a safer way for smokers to inhale nicotine” after his father, a cigarette smoker, died from lung cancer.  The e-cigarette is designed with a lithium battery attached to a heating element.  This vaporizes a solution of either propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine and liquid nicotine.  Vaporization allows for inhalation, also referred to as “vaping” instead of “smoking.”

Smokers have access to these products.  They are unlikely to be  banned in the near future.  There may in the future be an age restriction.

We have two questions to answer as health professionals:

1.  Are e-cigarettes safe?  Truly, we have no idea.  There is no long-term safety data on the impact of repeated inhalation of propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin on lung tissue.  Some short-term data suggests that e-cigarettes may cause airway irritation.

2.  Are e-cigarettes effective at helping stop smoking?  There is a 2013 Lancet Journal study which compares e-cigarettes to nicotine patches to placebo pills.  The research showed that there was not a statistically significant help with e-cigarettes compared to the other two options.

We, clinicials, do know that e-cigarettes are not clearly superior to FDA-approved medications for smoking cessation, e-cigarettes are not FDA approved for smoking cessation, short-term safety data suggests that e-cigarettes cause airway irritation and NO long-term safety data exists.

.flickr.com/photos /rpmarks /4075285929/

.flickr.com/photos /rpmarks /4075285929/

My advice is to quit smoking and do not start vaping e-cigarettes.

About drlesliegreenberg

I have been practicing as a family physician for over 20 years--as both an educator of physicians and clinician. From infancy to the elderly, I perform obstetrics and general medicine. I love my career and am passionate about my field of knowledge and my patients. Follow me on Facebook at Leslie Md Greenberg Medical Disclaimer The content of this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should it be considered a substitute for, professional medical advice. Do not use the information on this website for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider.
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