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The limited evidence available suggests electronic cigarettes are an efficacious aid to smoking cessation.

Electronic cigarettes are electronic devices that heat a liquid into an aerosol for inhalation. The liquid usually comprises propylene glycol and glycerol, with or without nicotine and flavours, and stored in disposable or refillable cartridges or tanks. Since electronic cigarettes appeared on the market in 2006 there has been a large growth in sales. E-cigarettes are often used for harm reduction or to use in smoking restricted areas.  Many smokers use them to help themselves quit.

There is limited evidence on electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation given their relative recency. However, there is evidence from two trials that electronic cigarettes with nicotine help smokers to stop smoking in the long term compared with electronic cigarettes without nicotine. The relative efficacy of electronic cigarettes compared with nicotine replacement therapy is uncertain.

The long-term safety of electronic cigarettes is unknown, but there is broad agreement that they are considerably safer than regular cigarettes.

Hartmann-Boyce J, McRobbie H, Bullen C, Begh R, Stead LF, Hajek P. Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016 , Issue 9 

Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. Nicotine Without Smoke—Tobacco Harm Reduction. London: Royal College of Physicians, 2016. logo
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