Table 2

Positive and negative aspects of e-cigarettes
Positive Negative
Beneficial effects on health (improved exercise tolerance, and less cough) Small percent of the population is sensitive to propylene glycol (dry mouth and throat)
No tobacco smoke odor or bad breath Some flavors (e.g. piña colada) have a lingering smell
Much less toxic than conventional cigarettes Trace amounts of contaminants and metals present in some products
Mimics the “throat hit” sensation of inhaling smoke “Throat hit” sensation dependent on hardware used and liquid composition
Replicates gestures or actions associated with smoking behavior Equipment is heavier than traditional cigarette and puffing technique requires some training
Facilitates smoking abstinence Not all users manage to quit smoking or reduce consumption of conventional cigarettes
Relieves withdrawal symptoms and craving for conventional cigarettes Relief of withdrawal symptoms varies, affected by quality of equipment and nicotine strength of liquid
No risk to bystanders. Due to few studies on potential risk to bystanders, some communities are outlawing indoor use
No ash, dirt, or burned clothes Environmental concern about safe disposal of cartridges and batteries
Accessible prices (in the long run cheaper than conventional cigarettes) The intricacies of their use and maintenance may hinder widespread adoption
Much improved self-regulatory framework by e-cigarettes industry Impending medicinal regulation in many countries

Polosa et al.

Polosa et al. Harm Reduction Journal 2013 10:19   doi:10.1186/1477-7517-10-19

Open Data