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E-cigarettes are not a good nicotine-quitting approach or completely harmless, says study

Claims that e-cigarettes are not a danger to smokers and nonsmokers and offer a viable healthy way to quit a nicotine habit aren't true, according to yet another research study on the electronic smoking devices.

A UC San Francisco research team states there is no evidence to support the claims from e-cigarette makers and advocates.

The report comes on the heels of lawmaker activity to further ban the devices in indoor public spaces, and amidst other research efforts that the electronic cigarette may not be as safe as previously thought. One study claims particles from inhaled vapor are being absorbed in deep lung tissue and could present health issues. Another claims the e-cigarette vapor may feature potential carcinogenic elements.

The UCSF scientists reportedly found that e-cigarette emissions "are not merely 'harmless water vapor,' as is frequently claimed, and can be a source of indoor air pollution."

The research team reviewed over 80 other studies on the device as part of their effort. The paper is published in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

"E-cigarettes do not burn or smolder the way conventional cigarettes do, so they do not emit side-stream smoke; however, bystanders are exposed to aerosol exhaled by the user," state the authors.

The authors note that smokers using e-cigarette are a third less likely to completely stop smoking than those smoking rolled tobacco cigarettes.

"While it is reasonable to assume that, if existing smokers switched completely from conventional cigarettes (with no other changes in use patterns) to e-cigarettes, there would be a lower disease burden caused by nicotine addiction, the evidence available at this time, although limited, points to high levels of dual use of e-cigarettes with conventional cigarettes, no proven cessation benefits, and rapidly increasing youth initiation with e-cigarettes," the authors wrote.

"Furthermore, high rates of dual use may result in greater total public health burden and possibly increased individual risk if a smoker maintains an even low-level tobacco cigarette addiction for many years instead of quitting."

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