Edorium Journal of

Public Health

 
Review Article
 
Electronic cigarettes: Should health professionals oppose use by their patients?
Emma S Lydall1, Brian Eadon2, Hugo C van Woerden3
1PhD, Public Health Wales, Unit 1 Charnwood Court Heol Billingsley Parc Nantgarw Cardiff CF15 7QZ.
2MPH, MBA, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Wrexham, LL13 7TD.
3PhD, Institute of Primary Care & Public Health, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Neuadd Meirionnydd, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4YS.

Article ID: 100001P16EL2014
doi:10.5348/p16-2014-1-OA-1

Address correspondence to:
Hugo C van Woerden
Institute of Primary Care & Public Health
Cardiff University School of Medicine Neuadd Meirionnydd
Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS
UK
Phone: +44 7794331801
Fax: +44 29 2040 2506
Email: vanwoerdenH1@cf.ac.uk

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How to cite this article
Lydall ES, Eadon B, van Woerden HC. Electronic cigarettes: Should health professionals oppose use by their patients?. Edorium J Public Health 2013;1(1):1–6.


Abstract
Aims: Electronic cigarettes are rapidly becoming the most popular type of tobacco-free nicotine product sold in the UK. The aim of this review was to summarize existing literature on the potential risks and benefits posed by e-cigarettes.
Methods: A thorough search of relevant databases was undertaken using the search terms: electronic cigarette/s, e-cigarette/s, e-cig/s, electronic nicotine delivery system/s.
Results: Electronic cigarettes contain small amounts of toxic chemicals including tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are known to be human carcinogens; impurities such as myosamine, anabasine, and beta-nicotyrine, which are considered to be harmful to humans; and diethylene glycol, which can be toxic in high doses. Mouth and throat irritation are the most commonly reported side effects in follow-up studies. However, substitution of electronic cigarettes in the homes of parents who currently smoke improves indoor air quality and should be associated with a fall in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory illness and ear disease.
Conclusion: Electronic cigarettes need standards that reduce product variation and licensing as a medicinal product to provide validated external quality assurance of ingredients and potential contaminants. However, based on their risks and benefits to others, and leaving aside the issues of their use as an aid to smoking cessation, there may be a case for their short-term use where patients have failed to give up smoking using other smoking cessation techniques to reduce exposure of others to second hand smoke.

Keywords: Electronic cigarettes, E-cigarettes, Smoking, Tobacco, Public health

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Author Contributions
Emma S Lydall – Conception and design, Drafting the article, Final approval of the version to be published
Brian Eadon – Analysis and interpretation of data, Critical revision of the article, Final approval of the version to be published
Hugo C van Woerden – Conception and design, Critical revision of the article, Final approval of the version to be published
Guarantor of submission
The corresponding author is the guarantor of submission.
Source of support
None
Conflict of interest
Authors declare no conflict of interest.
Copyright
© Emma S Lydall et al. 2014; This article is distributed the terms of Creative Commons attribution 3.0 License which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any means provided the original authors and original publisher are properly credited. (Please see Copyright Policy for more information.)



About The Authors

Emma Lydall is Senior Health Promotion Practitioner in the Aneurin Bevan Gwent Public Health Team, Wales.



Brian Eadon is a Formulary Pharmacist in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Wales.



van Woerden is an Honorary Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Primary Care & Public Health, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Wales.




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