For the new study, they created an Internet survey that was accessible from the websites of two e-cigarette manufacturers from September 2011 to May 2012.Lynne Dawkins and her colleagues from the University of East London write in the journal Addiction that there are currently over 100 brands of e-cigarettes, and 3.5 million devices were sold in 2012.
The survey took about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.Overall, 1,123 ex-smokers and 218 current smokers from 33 different countries took the survey. About 16 percent of participants were from the U.S. and another 77 percent were from Europe. Seventy percent were men.
About three quarters of respondents said they started using e-cigarettes as a “complete alternative to smoking,” and 22 percent said they started using the devices for “other reasons” – including stopping smoking (7 percent), for health reasons (6 percent) and to get around smoking restrictions (3 percent).
Some 86 percent said they had either not smoked cigarettes for several weeks or months since using the e-cigarette or that the amount they smoked had decreased dramatically.The researchers also found that the majority of people responding to the surveys felt their health had improved since using the devices.
“Most people reported great health benefits. Namely –
- Their cough was reduced
- Their breathing was improved,”
said Dawkins, who added that the benefits are most likely from people smoking fewer cigarettes and not an effect of the devices or vapors.
Siegel said there’s no question that e-cigarettes are safer than smoking, but there are concerns over some of the vapors’ ingredients – including propylene glycol, which irritates airways, and formaldehyde, which is known to raise lung and nasal cancer risk when it’s inhaled.
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