This paper examines the ever-increasing use of electronic cigarettes as a possible alternative to the use of combustible tobacco products. The authors note that many anti-tobacco advocacy groups tend to focus on the adverse effects of electronic cigarette use, rather than noting the potential benefits of these nicotine delivery systems. The authors argue that electronic cigarettes can provide an excellent outlet for smokers who are unable, or unwilling, to quit smoking. With the use of electronic cigarettes, smokers are able to intake the desired nicotine, whilst avoiding the harmful tar and other byproducts introduced into the body with combustible tobacco products. Due to the major side effects and deaths associated with combustible tobacco products, the possibility of appeasing smokers’ addictions using a less harmful delivery system can dramatically reduce medically related symptoms, including morbidity and mortality. This has an incredible amount of potential, with the possibility of greatly reducing healthcare costs associated with tobacco use. Young physicians should take note of the potential benefits of using e-cigarettes, as they may be employed to appease addictions while avoiding the toxic effects of inhaling combustible products.

Green S, et al. Evidence, Policy and E-Cigarettes — Will England Reframe the Debate? N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1301-1303. [behind paywall]

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