A new study points to more public harm. Here’s what you should know if you do want to try to use e-cigs to stop smoking.
The number of adults who quit smoking by using e-cigarettes will be far lower than the number of teenagers and young adults who develop a regular smoking habit after trying these products, according to a first-of-its-kind study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS-One.
The findings promise to add fuel to a long-standing debate among scientists and policymakers over these controversial products.
Because e-cigs are less toxic than regular cigarettes, they have the potential to curb a global smoking addiction that claims billions of dollars and millions of lives every year. But because they come in fruit and candy flavors, these products may also lure teens and young adults into a dangerous smoking habit that they might otherwise have avoided.
The new study tried to measure both sides of that equation. Using census data, national surveys, and published studies, researchers analyzed three things: the additional number of current smokers who will quit smoking with the help of e-cigs, the additional number of teens and young adults who will transition to long-term daily smoking after using e-cigs, and the total number of life years that will be gained (or lost) as a result.