A scientific review of available research on the use, content, and safety of e-cigarettes has concluded that, although long-term health effects of e-cigarette use are unknown, compared with conventional cigarettes they are likely to be much less harmful to users or bystanders.
The review of current evidence about e-cigarettes, carried out by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and published in Addiction, concluded that despite gaps in the knowledge that require further research, the current evidence about e-cigarettes does not justify regulating them more strictly than, or even as strictly as, conventional cigarettes.
Regulatory decisions will provide the greatest public health benefit when they are proportional, based on evidence, and incorporate a rational appraisal of likely risks and benefits, according to researchers.
The scientific review was conducted by an international team of leading tobacco researchers led by QMUL’s Professor Peter Hajek. “The evidence we currently have is clear: e-cigarettes should be allowed to compete against conventional cigarettes in the marketplace. Healthcare professionals may advise smokers who are unwilling to cease nicotine use to switch to e-cigarettes. Smokers who have not managed to stop with current treatments may also benefit from switching to e-cigarettes,” Hajek said.