(HealthDay News) — Allowing e-cigarettes to compete with regular cigarettes might cut tobacco-related deaths and illness, according to a new study, partly funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, published online July 31 in Addiction.
Whether e-cigarettes should be regulated, and how strictly, is being debated by regulatory agencies around the world. Several medical organizations have called for restrictions on use of the increasingly popular devices.
Although long-term risks of e-cigarettes remain unknown, the researchers of the new study concluded the benefits of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid outweigh potential harms. The researchers arrived at their conclusion after reviewing 81 prior studies on the use and safety of the nicotine-emitting devices.
“Current evidence suggests that there is a potential for smokers to reduce their health risks if electronic cigarettes are used in place of tobacco cigarettes and are considered a step toward ending all tobacco and nicotine use,” study researcher Thomas Eissenberg, co-director of the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, told HealthDay.