Are E-cigarettes Useful?

Surveys suggest that more than 2.5 million people in the UK now use electric cigarettes, commonly known as e-cigarettes. These products produce a vapour, which is believed that be less harmful for the body than traditional cigarette smoke; they also release nicotine, they look similar to cigarettes and some feature an LED light, which looks like an illuminated cigarette. 

A review compiled for Public Health England, which was published in August 2015, suggested that using an e-cigarette was up to 95 per cent less dangerous than smoking traditional cigarettes. There had also been concerns about young people being tempted to start smoking because of electronic cigarettes and this was found to be untrue by researchers. The review suggested that e-cigarettes could help thousands of people to quit smoking in the coming years and may save the NHS a significant amount of money. The experts believe that the number of people who die from smoking-related diseases could fall from 80,000 per year to just 4,000 if all smokers started using e-cigarettes instead of smoking normal cigarettes. 

Is it safe to use e-cigarettes?

There are some concerns about the safety of using e-cigarettes, as they are not currently regulated like other treatments; there are plans to start regulating them in 2016. The nicotine content may vary depending on the brand and type of e-cigarette you buy and the long-term effects of use are unknown, as they have only been around for relatively short period of time. At present, there are trials in progress to assess the safety and potential side-effects and implications of using e-cigarettes. 

The cost of e-cigarettes

E-cigarettes are not currently provided by the NHS, but they are widely available from high street retailers. The average cost of an e-cigarette starter pack is around £15-£40; once you buy the starter pack, you then buy replacement liquid and any other parts, which need replacing. On average, a smoker who smokes 20 cigarettes per day spends around £50 a week and this compares to expenditure of around £5 for using an e-cigarette. 

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