NOV 22, 2016 10:30 AM PST

Why Can

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

The popularity of e-cigarettes is fraught with controversy. On the one hand, manufacturers and fans say these devices pose less health risks because tobacco is cut out of the equation. On the other hand, some health experts think e-cigarettes could backfire in reducing a smoker's motivation to quit. There's also the big unknown of the health damage that can be caused by the e-liquids.

So far, research behind e-cigarettes have yielded a mixed bag. While some studies found that e-cigarette users have helped more than 18,000 smokers quit, other say this number is a drop in the bucket compared to the 1.1 billion people who still smoke cigarettes regularly.

Furthermore, the science seems to be leaning against e-cigarettes, as we just haven't had the time or resources to fully study the effects of the e-liquids. Of note, these liquids aren't yet regulated, and with over 500 brands of e-cigarettes on the market and more than 7,000 e-liquid flavors, it won't be a trivial task to study these compounds in full.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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