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E-cigarettes: are they useful for giving up smoking or just as bad?

E-cigarettes: are they useful for giving up smoking?

A growing number of smokers are using e-cigarettes and many are using them to help them quit smoking altogether.

But is using e-cigarettes a good way to give up smoking or just as bad as smoking a real cigarette?

E-cigarettes work by heating and creating a vapour from liquid nicotine. As there is no burning involved, there is no smoke and, therefore, no tar or carbon monoxide – two of the main toxins found in cigarettes.

The NHS says vapour from e-cigarettes has been found to contain some potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.

The reality is that e-cigarettes have only been on the market for a relatively small number of years and until they have been used for a longer time we won’t be able to build up a full picture of their effects.

Opinions are mixed, however, the current evidence is that they can carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes and they can help people stop smoking.

Public Health England has said that the current expert estimate is that using an electronic cigarette is around 95% safer than smoking.

The body says smokers who have tried other methods of quitting smoking, such as nicotine patches, without success could be encouraged to try e-cigarettes to help reduce further smoking related diseases.

When it comes to quitting smoking, different things work for different people but if you have tried other ways of giving up and have not yet succeeded, then it might be worth seeing if an e-cigarette can help.

According to the NHS, in the year up to April 2015, two out of three people who used e-cigarettes in combination with the NHS stop smoking service quit smoking successfully.

Find your nearest NHS stop smoking service from the NHS Smokefree website, or call the Smokefree National Helpline to speak to a trained adviser on 0300 123 1044.

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