Health officials in the United Kingdom believe that e-cigarettes could be a helpful tool in helping people quit smoking.

Contrary to the view of health officials in the United States that using e-cigarettes could pose detrimental effects to health, those from the United Kingdom think otherwise. In fact, they believe that e-cigarettes are less harmful than normal cigarettes and these could be used as an important tool in helping most smokers quit tobacco altogether.

Public Health England (PHE), a group of health officials from more than 70 organizations in the United Kingdom, released an independent review of the evidence that assessed the effects of e-cigarettes to health.

E-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful to the body because these do not contain free radicals, PHE found.

The agency believes that using e-cigarettes as a "stop smoking" aid can be helpful since these provide a high-nicotine hit that other nicotine delivery products do not give. This will help smokers work their way down to a zero dosage, effectively weaning off from nicotine addiction completely.

In the assessment report released, key findings show that smokers who tried other methods to quit smoking and had no result can be urged to try using e-cigarettes instead. This can be done through the help of health professionals who can provide behavioral support.

The use of e-cigarettes can help reduce smoking-related diseases, health inequalities and death, the officials reiterated. E-cigarettes can be used by those who can't abruptly stop smoking or those who don't want to stop.

Health officials also found that e-cigarettes can help people quit smoking and actually reduce the consumption of cigarettes. Though more research is needed, the officials said that there is evidence that e-cigarettes can encourage quitting or reducing cigarette consumption even among those who do not intend to quit smoking.

"We believe this review will prove a valuable resource, explaining the relative risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, in terms of harm reduction when compared with cigarettes and as an aid to quitting," said [PDF] Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE.

"We will continue to monitor the position and will add to the evidence base and guidance going forward," he added.

Photo: Lindsay Fox | Flickr 

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