Electronic cigarettes have a potential for huge public health benefit

BMC Med. 2014 Dec 9:12:225. doi: 10.1186/s12916-014-0225-z.


Although there is no doubt that smokers switching to electronic cigarettes (EC) substantially reduce the risk to their health, some tobacco control activists and health organisations discourage smokers from using EC and lobby policy makers to reduce EC use by draconian regulation.The hostility to EC may be related to a moral belief that nicotine use should be eradicated rather than allowed to morph into a relatively harmless activity. If EC are allowed to compete with cigarettes and develop further, smoking is likely to all but disappear. Discouraging smokers from making the switch and reducing EC competitiveness with cigarettes by unwarranted regulation will delay this opportunity or squander it altogether.In fact, there is now sufficient evidence available for health professionals to recommend to smokers who cannot stop smoking with existing treatments or do not want to do so, to try several types of e-cigarettes to see if they can find one meeting their needs.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems* / ethics
  • Humans
  • Nicotine / administration & dosage
  • Public Health / ethics
  • Public Health / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / prevention & control*


  • Nicotine