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Are e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products harmful? Researchers review the evidence.

Researchers discuss the risks of e-cigarettes and ‘heat-not-burn’ products in a new article published in ERJ Open Research.

E-cigarettes are devices that feel like smoking, but do use tobacco, which causes many of the harmful effects of smoking. Heat-not-burn products contain tobacco, but this is heated rather than burnt like in cigarettes.

The article explains some of the research that shows that e-cigarettes could be harmful. For example, young people who use e-cigarettes or ‘vape’ seem to be more likely to try cigarettes, and there is evidence to suggest that the rise of e-cigarettes has resulted in a new population of people who smoke cigarettes. There is also some evidence to suggest that using e-cigarettes can be directly harmful to your lungs. 

The researchers also discussed evidence that e-cigarettes could help some people stop smoking.

On the topic of heat-not-burn products, the researchers found evidence that these products can also be directly harmful, causing damage to our cells, particularly in the lungs and airways.

Overall, the researchers explained that we do not yet have a good understanding of the long-term effects of these products because they are so new, and there could be other risks linked to these products that we do not yet know about.

Read the journal article in full

Read our factsheet on e-cigarettes


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