E-Cigarette Pros And Cons

More than 45 million Americans smoke. If you're one of them and trying to quit, listen up.

Something called e-cigarettes is gaining in popularity. A couple million Americans have tried them so far.

Consumer Reports takes a closer look at the pluses and minuses.

Chris Mikovits was a cigarette smoker for 24 years, but two years ago he was finally able to stop smoking-tobacco cigarettes, that is.

Now he uses what he calls a personal vaporizer-otherwise known as an electronic or e-cigarette.

Mikovits says, "I've tried everything there was out there to quit. With this, it was more like switching. I didn't have to completely know out the habits and the rituals I had."

Made to look and feel like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes are battery-operated electronic devices that deliver vaporized nicotine without the tar, smoke, and tobacco found in regular cigarettes."

Consumer Reports' Jamie Kopf took a look at the studies and says some suggest they might be a last resort for smokers who've tried quitting again and again and failed.

Kopf says, "A recent study in the journal Tobacco Control found that methods like the nicotine patch and gum aren't as effective as we once thought."

However, Consumer Reports says e-cigarettes-sold largely online but in stores, too-have not been approved by the FDA, so safety is a major concern.

Hirsh says, "E-cigarettes vary widely, and it's unclear exactly which chemicals, other than nicotine, are in these devices. And nicotine itself is extremely addictive and can cause harm, too."

While Chris believes e-cigarettes are a better option to regular ones, he realizes that more research is necessary.

Mikovits says, "It needs studies, you know, to see all the different things behind it."

Consumer Reports' take...

Hirsh says, "More in-depth health studies need to be done, and federal oversight of e-cigarettes in necessary. But for smokers who are having trouble quitting, e-cigarettes just may be the lesser of two evils."

Consumer Reports says there's another concern that's been raised about e-cigarettes-that they could actually lead to smoking the real thing.

That's because these devices are easily available online to minors, and they come in enticing flavors like vanilla and pina colada.

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