One study of e-cigarettes was conducted to resemble a smoky bar: the researchers found that markers of nicotine in nonsmokers who sat nearby was similar for both cigarette smoke and e-cigarette aerosol exposure. Short-term exposure studies of e-cigarette use show a negative impact on lung function and bystanders absorb nicotine from passive exposure to e-cigarette aerosol, the authors report.
While early research found that e-cigarettes resulted in lower levels of plasma nicotine than conventional cigarettes, more recent research demonstrated that experienced users can attain nicotine absorption similar to that with conventional cigarettes.
When UCSF scientists pooled the results of five population-based studies of smokers, they found that smokers who used e-cigarettes were about a third less likely to quit smoking than those who did not use e-cigarettes. Whether e-cigarette use prevents attempts to quit or whether people who choose to use e-cigarettes are more highly dependent and therefore have a harder time quitting remains to be determined.
The scientists said their research illustrates the need for product regulation.
"While it is reasonable to assume that, if existing smokers switched completely from conventional cigarettes (with no other changes in use patterns) to e-cigarettes, there would be a lower disease burden caused by nicotine addiction, the evidence available at this time, although limited, points to high levels of dual use of e-cigarettes with conventional cigarettes, no proven cessation benefits, and rapidly increasing youth initiation with e-cigarettes," the authors wrote.
"Furthermore, high rates of dual use may result in greater total public health burden and possibly increased individual risk if a smoker maintains an even low-level tobacco cigarette addiction for many years instead of quitting."
|Contact: Elizabeth Fernandez|
University of California - San Francisco