Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018

The ENDS Committee was established in December 2016 under the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, with an ambitious timeline to complete a review of the science that can inform the understanding of public health risks and benefits of e-cigarettes. What are the short- and longterm health risks of regular use of e-cigarettes? What variables of the numerous types of devices and use patterns are important determinants of risk? Are e-cigarettes an effective means to quit smoking combustible tobacco cigarettes? Are e-cigarettes an “initiation pathway” of youth to smoking combustible tobacco cigarettes? These are just some of the important questions addressed by the committee in this report. Where feasible, the committee applied the most important attributes of systematic review methodology to the scientific literature to establish the strength of evidence surrounding the health risks (e.g., direct harmful effects, initiation of smoking) and benefits (e.g., smoking cessation) associated with e-cigarette use. Although the use of these products is relatively new, the committee identified more than 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies in this report. Based on this review, the committee has provided a summary of the current state of knowledge about the health risks and benefits of e-cigarette use, and has provided a series of research recommendations.

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