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E-cigarettes could be key to reducing smoking harm

E-cigarettes could be key to reducing smoking harm

Electronic cigarettes may reduce death and disability caused by smoking, say experts in The BMJ.

E-cigarettes could be key to reducing smoking harm

Professor John Britton says e-cigarettes, and other non-tobacco nicotine products, “offer the potential to radically reduce harm from smoking. This is an opportunity that should be managed, and taken.”

The researchers say even at the doses absorbed from cigarettes, nicotine causes little if any harm. It is the carcinogens, carbon monoxide and thousands of other toxins in tobacco smoke that kill.

This means that health harms from smoking can be avoided by substituting cigarettes with a less toxic source of nicotine, which could help the estimated 463,000 smokers in New Zealand.

There are concerns about the use of e-cigarettes, but the new report argues that, while not absolutely safe, the hazard to health arising from long-term vapour inhalation from e-cigarettes is unlikely to be worse than the harm from smoking tobacco.

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