E-Cigs Continue to Spark Debate Over Health Risks/Benefits

By Amy Norton | HealthDay | With sales of electronic cigarettes skyrocketing, Americans remain divided on whether the devices are a boon or a threat to public health. That’s the main finding of a new HealthDay/Harris Poll that surveyed over 2,000 adults on their e-cigarette views. Vaping has long been promoted as a way to help smokers kick […]

By Amy Norton | HealthDay |

With sales of electronic cigarettes skyrocketing, Americans remain divided on whether the devices are a boon or a threat to public health.

That’s the main finding of a new HealthDay/Harris Poll that surveyed over 2,000 adults on their e-cigarette views.

Vaping has long been promoted as a way to help smokers kick the habit — offering them a route to get nicotine without the carcinogens in tobacco smoke.

But e-cigarettes aren’t harmless, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health authorities. There’s particular concern about young people vaping — in part, because nicotine can harm brain development, which continues until about age 25.

In the poll, most adults did have misgivings about e-cigarettes: 85 percent said they were worried that the long-term health effects of the devices are unknown; and 83 percent were at least “somewhat” concerned about teenagers using e-cigarettes.

In fact, 43 percent of adults felt that e-cigarettes are actually more dangerous than traditional cigarettes.

On the flip side, about as many people (41 percent) viewed e-cigarettes as “healthier” than traditional cigarettes. And 42 percent rated them as an “excellent way” to quit.

It all adds up to differing views, and possibly confusion, about e-cigarettes and their health effects.

There are, in fact, many unknowns.

Read more at HealthDay.