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e-cigarette_4x1Are they safe or effective? 

Every year, Americans try to quit smoking, but nicotine patches and gum have low success rates. Are electronic cigarettes effective in helping people quit smoking?

What is it?
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are electronic inhaler devices that are usually shaped like traditional cigarettes. They rely on batteries and heat to vaporize liquid that produces an aerosol mist.

There is a wide variety of options available, from disposable to rechargeable electronic cigarettes, as well as electronic cigars and pipes.

Why use one?
E-cigarettes can help you slowly wean off of traditional cigarettes by gradually reducing the amount of nicotine you use over time. Since it so closely resembles the act of traditional smoking, the transition to quitting smoking might be easier and more natural than nicotine gum and patches.

General consensus in the medical community is that the health hazards of continuing to smoke are much worse than any potential risks associated with nicotine replacement systems.

According to a study led by Boston University School of Public Health, e-cigarette usage is twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement products in promoting smoking cessation.

Health Hazards
E-cigarettes do not involve inhaling harmful chemical, tar and tobacco-laden combusted smoke into your lungs, so the risk of lung disease and cancer is greatly reduced.

One chemical you will continue to ingest when using an e-cigarette is nicotine (unless you choose a nicotine-free cartridge.)

Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant and can cause increased blood pressure and elevated heart rate.

Although long-term studies are still needed, all signs point to e-cigarettes being a much safer alternative to conventional cigarettes, and containing up to 1,000 times less carcinogenic chemicals according to a study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy.

The Verdict
Although not perfect, e-cigarettes are a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes. If you are having trouble quitting and other methods have not worked, electronic cigarettes may work for you.

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