Will e-cigarettes overtake tobacco?

E-cigarette manufacturers have seen a surge in popularity for the battery-powered devices that vaporize nicotine and other additives, like flavoring. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

E-cigarettes are almost completely free of health risks and could save millions of lives, agreed health experts at a London summit to discuss the effects of the device.

E-cigarettes – which work by users inhaling vaporized nicotine – have enjoyed a surge of popularity since they were introduced around the turn of the decade, with around 7 million users in Europe. Nations have moved to crack down, but a growing movement claims they offer more benefits than risks.

“We can recommend that smokers who cannot quit should switch to e-cigarettes,” said leading researcher Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos of the University Hospital Gathuisberg, Belgium. The risks were less than 1/1000th of smoking tobacco, he told Metro.

Dr. Farsalinos added that the devices were the most effective tools to quit smoking. “The best alternative before was around 20 percent. … In my research up to 80 percent of participants using e-cigarettes have quit.” Medical journal The Lancet also found that e-cigarettes were more effective than Nicorette gum and patches.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 1 billion people will die prematurely from cigarette use in the next century, and previous opponents of e-cigarettes are becoming more supportive. “It’s always better to quit nicotine use completely,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of U.K. health charity Action on Smoking and Health. “But it’s the smoke that kills you — not the nicotine — so for smokers who are heavily addicted switching to safer sources of nicotine could literally be a lifesaver.”

Debate rages over regulation, but e-cigarette advocates won a major battle as the European Parliament has abandoned plans to impose medical regulation that would restrict sales to pharmacies. “Regulation puts the businesses under threat, which could mean users are forced to smoke regular cigarettes again,” says Nigel Hislop of advocacy group Saveecigs.com.

Arnott expects regulation to cover advertising to ensure the devices do not become a “gateway to smoking” for children. Research efforts will focus on toxicity of refills to ensure safe levels, which the WHO cites in a warning to potential users.

But with projected users set to outnumber regular smokers in several European nations by 2016, lawmakers will have a difficult job turning the tide. “It’s a consumer revolution, led by word of mouth rather than advertising,” says Chris Snowdon, a fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a British think tank. “As exponential growth continues, so many people will be ‘vaping’ it will make the decision for politicians.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Turkey: Voting begins in country's first direct presidential…

Some 53 million people are able to vote in the election, including 2.8 million citizens abroad. Until now, Turkish presidents were elected by parliament.

News

Libya seeks ceasefire as south Tripoli a militia…

By Patrick Markey and Aziz El YaakoubiTRIPOLI (Reuters) - Black plumes of smoke marked shell blasts and bulldozed earthen barricades mapped out the frontlines around…

Breaking: News

Russia mad about sanctions, says U.S. contributing to…

Russia reacted angrily on Saturday to additional sanctions imposed by the European Union over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis, saying they would hamper cooperation…

National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Television

'Game of Thrones' livens up Comic Con with…

By Piya Sinha-RoySAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Laughter and death did battle on Friday at HBO's "Game of Thrones" panel at Comic Con, one of the…

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.