New Zealand is taking the lead in addressing the harmful effects of tobacco addiction by conducting research comparing e-cigarettes to tobacco smoke, noting “As the e-cigarette delivers only nicotine in a mist of propylene glycol, without the other 4,000 or so other chemicals in tobacco smoke, it is far safer than smoking.”
“The current safety data would therefore suggest that the e-cigarette poses few risks to people, and is safer than continuing to smoke. However, this should be confirmed with data from long-term outcome study.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health has developed a special web site, http://www.endsmoking.org.nz/ecigarette.htm who's aim is to create a smoke-free New Zealand for all New Zealanders. The following is taken from this site:
The most harmful constituents in tobacco smoke include cancer causing gases such as butadiene, heart damaging gases such as hydrogen cyanide and lung damaging gases such as acrolein, not forgetting tar containing nitrosamines which cause lung cancer. Tobacco cigarettes eventually kill half of those smoking them.
Nicotine by itself, although not harmless, is dramatically less harmful than tobacco. This means that we need an alternative nicotine delivery system for the percentage of our smoking population that is so addicted that despite the best efforts of our public health colleagues they still smoke. Accepting that their eventual decision to quit nicotine as well as tobacco may be some years off in the real world, they are at least protected meantime from the severe harms associated with tobacco smoking by using nicotine products such as e-cigarettes.
Also, read the article in medpage today for highlights from the latest research, which suggests that e-cigarettes might help smokers quit.