(RxWiki News) Replacing a traditional cigarette with an electronic cigarette may seem like a step in the right direction. But the long-term health consequences of electronic cigarettes are still unknown.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released statistics that show electronic cigarette use by American adults is on the rise.
The lack of information on the health consequences from using electronic cigarettes has caused public health officials to worry.
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A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown an increase in the use of electronic cigarettes by US adult smokers.
In 2010, around 10 percent of adult smokers said they had tried an electronic cigarette. By 2011, the number increased to 21 percent of adult smokers. Out of all adults in the US, including non-smokers, 6 percent said they have tried an electronic cigarette.
Even former smokers have reported an increase in using electronic cigarettes. In 2010, only 40 percent of adults knew what an electronic cigarette was. But, by 2011, 60 percent were well aware.
This increase may have to do with wider knowledge that electronic cigarettes exist and a misperception that they have fewer health consequences than traditional cigarettes. The truth is electronic cigarettes haven’t been around long enough to know exactly what the health consequences will be.
“Electronic cigarette use is growing rapidly. There is still a lot we don’t know about these products, including whether they will decrease or increase use of traditional cigarettes,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH.
Electronic cigarettes haven’t been around long enough for studies to show how they will impact smoking habits in America.
“If large numbers of adult smokers become users of both traditional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes—rather than using electronic cigarettes to quit cigarettes completely—the net public health effect could be quite negative,” said CDC director of the Office on Smoking Health, Tim McAfee, MD, MPH.
These study results were published on February 28 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.