Electronic Cigarettes: Questions in the Mist

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In many parts of the world, electronic cigarettes (ECs) are marketed as a tool to assist users in attempts to quit smoking and are perceived to be a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. Numerous studies have suggested ECs may not be effective in achieving this goal and that the illusive “safety” of ECs can be enticing to consumers. The composition of the liquid solutions vaporized by these devices has not been fully disclosed and may not contain the actual advertised ingredients in the fractions reported. As this market has developed largely outside the oversight of an appropriate regulatory body, we are left to evaluate how ECs as a form of nicotine replacement therapy fit in the existing regulatory framework of conventional cigarettes and what the role of nicotine is in our society.

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