Conventional cigarette smoking is known to result in significant COPD morbidity and mortality. Strategies to reduce and/or stop smoking in this highly vulnerable patient group are key public health priorities to reduce COPD morbidity and mortality. Unfortunately, smoking cessation efforts in patients with COPD are poor and there is a compelling need for more efficient approaches to cessation for patients with COPD. Electronic cigarettes (ECs) are devices that use batteries to vaporize nicotine. They may facilitate quit attempts and cessation in many smokers. Although they are not risk free, ECs are much less harmful than tobacco smoking. Hence, the use of ECs in vulnerable groups and in patients with challenges to abstain or multiple relapses to this habit may be promising. To date, little is known about health consequences of EC use among COPD smokers and whether their regular use has any effects on subjective and objective COPD outcomes. In the current review, we discuss the current perspectives and literature on the role of ECs in abstaining from conventional smoking and the effects of ECs on the respiratory tract in patients with COPD.
Keywords: COPD; electronic cigarette; smoking cessation; tobacco harm reduction.