E-cigarettes may be more harmful than beneficial, according to evidence-based research – Science Daily

The popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) has grown rapidly in the United States over the past decade. E-cigarettes may help cigarette smokers quit smoking, but they may also encourage transitions to start smoking cigarettes. Based on available evidence, Dartmouth researchers quantified the balance of health benefits and harms associated with e-cigarette use at the population level and found that e-cigarettes could substantially increase the number of adolescents and young adults who eventually become cigarette smokers.

The electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) industry is rapidly growing in the United States and the use of e-cigarettes is controversial. The controversy persists because researchers do not yet know if e-cigarette use results in more benefit than harm at the population level. New research from Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center, in collaboration with Moores Cancer Center at UCSD, UCSF School of Nursing, and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, quantifies the balance of harms and benefits using the most current scientific evidence.

“Although the tobacco industry markets e-cigarettes as a tool to help adult smokers quit smoking, e-cigarette use actually only marginally increases the number of adult cigarette smokers who are able to successfully quit,” says principle investigator Samir Soneji, PhD, Associate Professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. “On the other hand, e-cigarettes may facilitate cigarette smoking initiation and confer substantial harm to adolescents and young adults once they are introduced to nicotine.”

Utilizing census counts, national health and tobacco use surveys, and published literature, Soneji’s team calculated the expected years of life gained or lost from the impact of e-cigarette use on smoking cessation among current smokers, and transition to long-term cigarette smoking among never-smokers. “E-cigarettes could lead to more than 1.5 million years of life lost because their use could substantially increase the number of adolescents and young adults

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