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E cigarettes less harmful says Earl Howe, UK Health Minister

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In the House of Lords Hansard for 20 November 2013 ( pt 1 ), Viscount Ridley asks "on what evidence they based the information on the NHS website that the toxicity of e-cigarettes is one thousandth of that of tobacco cigarettes". The response by The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health, Earl Howe (Con) was that "The National Health Service website states that the level of toxins in electronic cigarettes is about one thousandth of that in cigarette smoke, which came from the findings of United States scientists Zachary Cahn and Michael Siegel published in the Journal of Public Health Policy in December 2010. The available evidence is that electronic cigarettes are likely to be substantially less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes; however, the scientific evidence on the long term health effects of using these products is limited." In the article mentioned, Zachary concludes that electronic cigarettes show tremendous promise in the fight against tobacco. Electronic cigarettes as a harm reduction device offer a recreational alternative to users who want to continue using nicotine products without the associated health risks. Electronic cigarettes are often used for smoking cessation purposes but this is not their intended purpose. Electronic cigarettes are designed to mimic the act of smoking while delivering nicotine without the thousands of dangerous and potentially cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco cigarettes. The article states that only approximately 5,300 of the estimated 10,000 - 100,00 chemicals in cigarette smoke have been identified and there is already a more comprehensive understanding of the makeup of electronic cigarettes. At the time the article was written, they were able to identify 16 studies into the components of electronic cigarettes and established that the primary components are propylene glycol (pg), glycerin (vg) and nicotine. Although other components were identified in some of the electronic cigarettes tested, these were at trace levels and were at similar levels to those found in nicotine patches and inhalours. The maximum level of tobacco-specific nitrosamines found in electronic cigarettes was 8.18, the level in nicotine patches is 8.0 and the lowest rated tobacco cigarette had levels at 3365, a massive difference. These figures seem to indicate that electronic cigarettes offer a healthy alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes, not only to those looking to reduce their nicotine intake but also for those who enjoy smoking that aren't looking for smoking cessation devices. Litejoy Electronic Cigarettes   Image courtesy of gameanna/

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